The Facebook and Whatsapp parent company Meta hopes that we will be in the so-called Metaverse in the future. While the big idea is far from reaching the masses, small steps are taking a first approach to the virtual self.
From now on, Whatsapp users will gradually be given the opportunity to create an image of themselves. Once that is done, the so-called avatar can be used both as a profile picture and to display various emotions in chats.
Creating such an avatar - known as Memoji at Apple - is very easy, provided Whatsapp has already enabled access to the new feature. Because the new menu does not appear immediately on every device, but is distributed among the users bit by bit. So it can happen that a friend is busy sending stickers while you are still waiting. This is also currently the case in the stern editorial team.
The new menu can be found in the app settings. It is simply called "Avatar" and is - if you already have access - directly below the account settings. If it is missing in the overview, the only thing that helps is to wait and see. Once Meta has granted access, you first select a skin tone and then work your way through the creation of your own character, with a variety of hairstyles, eyes, accessories and outfits to choose from.
Once the digital self has been created, messages can be adorned with the new image. There are currently 36 different stickers to choose from, with which various emotions can be expressed, such as joy, sadness, bewilderment or anger.
According to Whatsapp, the current design options are just the beginning, in the future we want to continue to fine-tune the details, make more stickers available and add new options.
The appearance of the avatars is very similar to the appearance of characters from the Metaverse, which have been seen in numerous presentations by the parent company. It wouldn't be surprising if, in the distant future, you can do more with the characters you create than just send stickers.