Virtual worlds such as Second Life have created a new place to enact the social in which the user creates an avatar to explore, interact and consume. Consumer behavior researchers have largely overlooked avatars and the challenges they present to extant theories. There have been calls for research into the avatar-user relationship (Messinger et al, 2008) and indeed Belk (2013 p 44) suggests that what both our avatars and we do online influences the self and therefore “only studying extended self offline is missing a large part of the influences on our contemporary self concepts and our and others’ activities in creating them”. This leads us to the research question: How can the offline and online self be researched to understand the avatar-user relationship? This paper addresses this contemporary research problem.
|Title of host publication
|AMA Winter Marketing Academic Conference, 2016, Las Vegas
|Published - 20 Feb 2016