Image Is Everything

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and related phrases may be going out of vogue as a new app tries to change the market and change the way we think about communication and engagement. The app, Looksery, takes video chatting to a new level by promising a way to create a personal avatar that you can adjust to change physical characteristics. Do you want a different eye color? Care to slim your bone structure? Have a blemish that just won’t go away? The app may help change certain physical features for the moment, but there are far reaching concerns amid the promise of self design.

Some Millennials, and the cohort that followed us, have spent so much time growing up with screen time that they seem to lag behind others in their communication competencies and ease of face to face contact.  This does not mean we can’t communicate, but the various skills and cues one uses in face to face conversations in person are unique to that kind of contact as online phrases and meaning are unique to digital life. Adding one more way to curate our personal image would not be a negative thing save for the lack of focus on interpersonal communication and engaging with others.

This app reminds me of an episode of The Jetsons. Jane (the wife/mother) gets a phone call from a friend, but because this cartoon takes place in the future, it’s a video call rather than a standard telephone. During the conversation, each participant speaks to the other while holding up a mask as they did not have time earlier to apply makeup or style their hair. A comedic moment occurs as one of the masks falls, but it says something of our society when we are so afraid of showing our frailties, blemishes, or true self. The concern that this app will be that next step of concealing our true selves may be unfounded, but we should remain mindful of the possibility. The digital advances which connect us so easily, have widened the gaps in our real connections, and we must find ways to both protect and share our true selves with our desired contacts. Image may be important, but we should focus on the relationship connection over appearances that fade and change with time.

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Are you anxious to change your video persona? Share your thoughts and continue the conversation.

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