Avatars and their place
An avatar is our second identity that represents us online. But it doesn't enhance our message, when our facial expression can't be seen. It's important not only what we say, but how we say it and how we act then. An avatar can't be a substitute for the real person and the way it communicates face-to-face It's artificial, because it tries to map a static 2D image to a dynamic 3D creature, which is never going to succeed.
Avatars are also ego-burdened and resemble our own understanding, how we like to be seen by the audience, which isn't necessarily equivalent to how people see us in reality. This makes them less objective.
The goal of an avatar is to personalize our message or comment. We identify ourselves with other human beings, being able to recognize their photos. It's not clear which emotions our words carry and how they are expressed, when we are perceived as static. This makes our message less believable than it could have been when personally communicated. Words become just words and the avatar just an image, but the whole is missing. We can't tell if someone is telling the truth or just pretends so. Having a photo instead of an avatar makes us a little bit more humane, but not necessarily more authentic.
Some services rely heavily on avatars. They look just like a catalog of soulless images. You can't get acquainted with another person there, because you don't know how their behavior maps to their image. Avatars act like intermediaries between people that distort the connection quality and the message truthfulness.
Avatars may be replaced in the future by another, more expressive means for communication. In the future, a click on an avatar might expand in a full-length video of how we say what we wrote. This won't leave room for interpretation.