Are You Better Than an Avatar?

September 24, 2014

I believe that technology is rapidly and deliberately on a quest to make genuine human interaction obsolete. What remains of the human element increasingly seems to involve walking avatars rather than thinking, feeling human beings. My frustration is that many are going down without a fight.

We are becoming a scripted society on the way to avatar status. Have you noticed that when you say “thank you” to people, they say “thank you” right back instead of “you’re welcome”?

Have you noticed that people text and email instead of picking up the phone to call someone?

Have you noticed that customer call queues are getting increasingly difficult to get out of?

Have you received a phone call recently from ‘someone’ who begins their greeting with, “Hi, this is Betty from… How are you today?” Betty is not real. She is a sophisticated avatar. The other day, I actually found myself yelling at a Betty, “I will not talk to an avatar!”

The point is that society is moving away from genuine human interaction. This is a threat not only to meaningful quality of life, but also to effective evaluation.

Don’t misunderstand me — I am not anti-technology; I am anti-avatarism. This is about going beyond shallow interpersonal interactions and gently probing for what is beneath the surface. The richness of information is usually not initially forthcoming.

The first tip of this four-part series, then, is to be aware of the ways the human part of your life and spirit is being reduced. Then, make a decision to counter it. Opportunities to generate true understanding that leads to positive change will slip away quickly if you allow yourself to fall into avatar mode when interacting with business colleagues and training participants.

In the three upcoming quick tips, I will talk with you specifically about how to turn an apparent avatar-like conversation into something professionally and personally rich and worthwhile.

The complete Avatar series:
Are You Reaping the Benefits of Non-Avatar Interactions?
Do You Hijack Conversations?​

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Additional Resources:

Kirkpatrick Four Levels® Evaluation Certification Program – Bronze Level

“Pull Up a Chair” to Gain Qualitative Data

Pull Up a Virtual Chair During Online Training Sessions

Do You Get the Truth in Your Evaluations?

Are You Willing to Disrupt Tradition?

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