How many avatars will I need?

Greetings from LGA Terminal C, Gate 63. I’m on my way to Syracuse University to teach my class IRL (as opposed to on Zoom). While walking the mile and a half to the gate, I imagined my avatar doing this same walk in a virtual world. Or, more succinctly, I imagined my physical self walking through a mixed reality airport experience.

I imagined walking by two people talking about the best hamburger they’ve ever had. Seconds later, I was in front of that very hamburger restaurant. Were those actual people talking, or were they bots? Was I the target of an immersive ad? If so, how much location and behavioral data had I just shared? Would that data be made available to others for additional targeting later? And on and on.

The world of immersive media is going to require us to have numerous disposable avatars. The question: how many? It will probably start with avatars to match your email accounts: one for work, a couple of personal ones, a couple of junk ones, and one or two super-secure (and super-private) ones.

It’s easy to imagine a world where people go out of their way to “ad block” or “data block” experience providers to protect themselves from over-cluttered, unenjoyable MR experiences, and that’s before we take into consideration the alter egos and various ways people might want to present themselves in virtual life. Avatar management platforms are comin — maybe in advance of the virtual and augmented worlds they are going to protect us from.

Just some “walking to the gate” thoughts on a Tuesday morning.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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