by Hannah Manton, Social Media Manager
As virtual worlds now exist in reality, virtual humans have been appearing on digital platforms over the past few years. Driven by the desire for anonymity online, the gaming boom, and the ability to create second and third iterations of ourselves, virtual humans are very much living and breathing in arts and entertainment spaces.
Platforms such as “Virtual Humans” have emerged to list the talent of digital personalities that live in the multiverse, but intersect in the realms of reality. The platform has hundreds of influencers, available to hire for photoshoots, brand deals, and ad campaigns. Each with their own personal interests, friendships, styles, and talents - some are musicians, some are actors - these curated humans are built by creators, but not always in their image.
“A virtual influencer is a digital character created in computer graphics software, then given a personality defined by a first-person view of the world, and made accessible on media platforms for the sake of influence.”
And influence is what they are getting. For brands forging their way into the metaverse, virtual humans are a natural fit for gaining recognition in the space. Brands, and creators, that focus on sustainability should also take notice of what’s happening in this space, as advertising with digital art will reduce the need for potentially wasteful samples and styling.
Will this shift spread to social?
We’ve already seen an increase in people creating a digital double online, using avatars to represent them, without having to share any personal information about themselves. A platform that’s already based on avatar doppelgangers is an app called Soul, already the fifth most popular social media app in China. When individuals join Soul, they are mapped to a digital avatar that will interact as their digital proxy on the app. The avatar maps to your body, so if you smile, so will your avatar. The key point of difference to the current platforms we have in the social media space is that you are actively discouraged to share personal information about yourself, or even connect with people you know. The app is completely interest-based and works using AI which connects you with others on “interest-based planets”. The increased use of avatars and digital representations can help people forge more authentic relationships online, connecting based on shared interests rather than their digital self-presentation.
What does this mean for creators?
This is a huge opportunity for creators, and brands, who have or want to connect with very niche audiences. This genuine interest-based networking type will allow global connections to be forged, via immersive digital experiences. This will shift the industry away from huge campaigns, to more micro-curated advertising that’s based on a truer understanding of the audience. Another benefit of these avatar / virtual-based influencers is that people don’t have to look, speak or present a certain way to gain influence in their chosen industries. This kind of anonymity could help level the playing field when it comes to influencing.
Currently, these creative outlets support life IRL, but the question is, will things flip on their head to the point where we all begin to exist primarily in a digital world, working, socialising, eating, sleeping in imagined worlds, or is it true that we actually already do?