Home > entertainment, marketing, online community, pop culture, social networking, Teens > Its not what you can do for your avatar…

Its not what you can do for your avatar…

BUT! What your avatar can do for you! As virtual worlds strive to find ways to open new doors to your wallet… Zwinky steps up with a unique idea: make your avatar as kick butt as possible, and then take that instruction to enhance YOURSELF. It’s like a road map on looking how you wish you looked. Model your avatar, then model yourself. Interesting, yeah?

Zwinky has announced a partnership with Zazzle, a custom clothing and tchotchke company, to allow its users to export their Zwinky avatars to real-world gear. The in-world Zazzle kiosk users to buy customized t-shirts, mugs, posters, postage stamps, and more featuring their avatars, which can be created and shipped to the buyer within 24 hours. Users can select from a display of their avatar on various options and switch between previously created and saved avatar outfits.

Virtual Worlds News: Zwinky Partners with Zazzle for Real-World Avatar Merchandise

Wowza, what an approach.

I’ve taken many steps to avoid speaking regularly about the news for Habbo, Zwinky (especially Zwinky with its creepy download and browser stalkers), Gaia, and other such teen-based sites because I’m sticking to my tween guns, and rather concentrate on sites that purposefully aim at this specific demographic– which Habbo, Zwinky, Gaia, etc may appear to do, but don’t (Ahem: if it looks like a duck, and it acts like a duck, but it’s REALLY a fox– how can other ducks know to stay away??). However, I found this bit of news to be a possible future trend.

Why?

Because, as I mentioned first– you want to make your avatar look appealing (whether for good looks, humor, popularity, diva-ness, etc). So, if you have created an avatar who’s style is ideal to you, but not how you dress… after a while you might actually want to dress just as your avatar (after all, it IS a little version of you, or a side of your personality).

I LOVE my outfit at Stardoll… and if I could buy those exact items to make that exact outfit? Heck yeah, I might just pull out the wallet. Kids & tweens are easily swayed by this stuff too. They play dress up — whether it be dress up like a Naruto character, a wizard, fairies, goths, etc… they have MUCH more room to be expressive. And in virtual worlds– where your clothing IS your expression… why wouldn’t they want to transcend their successful virtual style to real life?

Okay. Meh. There is the whole “materialism” thing, and that’s bad. I’m pretty sure such an concept wouldn’t be pleasant to those trying to protect children from such ideals. Which, I agree to– when thinking about the “overall educational behavior results.” Then again– kids/tweens can’t buy a darn thing on the internet without the aid of an adult. Kids “want” all the time– from the grocery store toy isle, to book fair day, to candy at the gas station. It’s something we all struggle with– but it’s really the parents guidance that helps a kid recognize the empowerment BEHIND the wanting.

At 12, I had an American Girl doll (back in the day, when they JUST came out, and there were only 3)– Samantha to be precise. Oh, those darn magazines came TWICE monthly, enticing and spoiling me with all the things Samantha COULD have. However, I didn’t have a credit card or a check book. If I wanted it, I had to show my parents, and THEY had the power. My sister and I would clean the entire FINISHED basement to our mother’s inspection (she’s the cleaning attila the hun… no spot, corner, side, or crevice unchecked) for $10 every Saturday. And we saved, and had to wait, and learn patience, and then finally when we were able to spend our hard earned money? We’d see something bigger, or more expensive in that darn magazine– and we’d end up holding out, etc.

We can’t always shout down a moving train. But if you jump on board and guide it where you want it to go… well, you know the rest.

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