Hi, I'm Nikhilesh Ponde, and I lead product marketing for metaverse avatars at Meta. In this video, we're going to talk about avatars, identity, and the ways you will represent yourself in the metaverse. Earlier, you heard Mark Zuckerberg talk a bit about avatars, and you saw some examples of what they might look like when he met his friends in that amazing room in outer space. Did you notice how different the avatars were? They were very realistic ones, stylized ones, fantastical ones, even a giant robot. All kinds of avatars will exist in the metaverse. Now, before we get too deep into a discussion about avatars and how they work in the metaverse, let's take a step back and talk about identity. Identity is how you represent yourself. You already have a virtual identity, more than one actually, that you use when you're online. Are you on Twitter? Your handle is your identity. Your email address is another form of identity, just like your LinkedIn profile and your PayPal account. Essentially, identity is how people recognize you in the digital places you inhabit. One way that we express our identities online, probably the most common way, is through our profile pictures. We use them to show people who we are or who we want to be in a specific virtual space. Now, if you're like me, you probably have different profile pictures for different online spaces. You might have a professional, buttoned up headshot that you use for LinkedIn, but your profile pic on Facebook is more casual or fun. Over on Twitch, you might use a stylized version of yourself, while your Instagram features a beautiful shot of you on your last vacation. Essentially, having different profile photos allows us to express ourselves in whatever way we feel is most appropriate for a certain digital space. They're a method of self expression. An avatar is a way that we might express identity. You might have a form of avatar already, and you've likely seen many examples. They are versions of you that you use when interacting with others by sharing one as a reaction, or reply to a post, or as a profile photo. Video game characters are also avatars. Avatars in the metaverse take this idea to another level. Remember that we described the metaverse as an embodied internet? Because that means we are in the metaverse, not just looking at it, our avatars become embodied as well. Rather than a flat image, an avatar is a 3D representation of you. It's a digital you, but with dimension. Right now we're used to communicating digitally with others through text, video, and images. We chat, we post comments, and we send text messages, email, and direct messages. We also share photos, have video-based meetings, and conversations with friends and make TikToks and Snaps. All of these are great ways to communicate, but few of them make us feel like we are truly together, sharing space. With avatars, communication in the metaverse will be richer and fuller, more real. Rather than the flat, two-dimensional and often one-at-a-time way we communicate digitally now, avatars will allow us to be in conversation together. Think about the group conversation Mark shared. He and his friends truly felt together as they talked and interacted in that space. Avatars are a way for us to express our visual form, or who we want to be. And because they are the primary way that will communicate in the metaverse, you can see the value in making your avatar look like you want it to. You can choose to represent yourself in different ways depending on who you're talking to and interacting with. Self expression is a key part of creating and using avatars. You might want your avatar to look very much like you do in the physical world, or you might want to express your identity in a new or different way. Customization allow you to change your avatar's body shape and size, hair, clothing, facial features, and accessories. Right now, the detail level of avatars varies. For example, in spaces like Horizon Worlds, an avatar is animated, while apps like Ready Player Me and Zepeto offer more stylized avatars, and IMVU and Spatial avatars are more photorealistic. As we look to the future of the metaverse, we will likely see avatars that mimic our movements and facial expressions, copying our actions in real time. Think of a digital you, moving through the metaverse. Like the multiple identities you already have online, you will likely have multiple avatars in the metaverse. You might want a professional version that has your same body complexion and features. Maybe a stylized version of you seems appropriate for social interactions. If you're into gaming, you might make yourself look completely different, or choose to be a different species, even one that doesn't exist. In the metaverse, you can be whoever or whatever you want to be. In this lesson, we discussed the ways in which we express our identity and virtual spaces. Avatars are how we digitally represent ourselves in the metaverse, and the means by which we interact and communicate with others. As avatars evolve, we will find more ways to be who we are, and who we want to be. Coming up, it's your turn to create an avatar.