An avatar is an icon or an electronic image that represents someone in a computer game or online forum.
Ex: Deidre made an avatar that looks just like her; it has short, straight brown hair, hazel eyes, and it even wears the same glasses that Deidre has in real life.
Ex: John doesn't like to post pictures of himself on the Internet, so his profile pages on social networking sites all have avatars instead of photos.
People sometimes use avatars online when they don't want to reveal their real image. Sometimes, online and offline, people may not want to reveal their real name. In those cases, people use what's referred to as a pseudonym, a fake name that someone uses for a specific purpose. When a pseudonym is used by an author, it is also called a pen name or a nom de plume.
Ex: Although pseudonyms are often associated with writers, other famous people also adopt them. For example, we refer to many famous visual artists, like Picasso, El Greco, and Le Corbusier by their pseudonyms, not their birth names.
Crowdfunding is a way to raise money on the Internet in order to start a business or fund the creation of a new product. With crowdfunding, a large number of individuals contribute small amounts of money, usually through the Internet.
Ex: Christian has designed a new board game. In order to get together the money to produce it, he's starting a crowdfunding campaign.
Ex: One of the benefits of crowdfunding is that investors only contribute small amounts of money. That way, if the business venture isn't successful, they don't lose a lot of money on a bad investment.
While crowdfunding refers to using the Internet to fundraise from large numbers of individuals, crowdsourcing means using the Internet to gather information or input for a project by enlisting the services of many people. The action of crowdsourcing is the verb to crowdsource.
Ex: One of the best examples of crowdsourcing on the Internet is Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is written and edited by a large number of volunteers.
Ex: Although many crowdsourcing projects rely on volunteers, some projects do pay people who help out the project by providing information.