Although it's more commonly understood as the notion of a personal character or brand, “branding is not avatar” it’s “an experience," according to Ulmer.
Ulmer states most plainly that the goal of his book is to make it "a practice of digital education" (ix). He goes on to explain we tap into our individual potentials only after we realize our "own possibilit[ies]" through a certain "wisdom tradition," of which he draws several analogies to introduce those different traditions (x). The first and most familiar is self : literacy. This wisdom tradition has existed for quite some time and in many ways tried to replace an earlier wisdom tradition of spirit : orality similar to the learning paradigm Walter Ong discusses explains in great detail in Orality and Literacy. Ulmer's text involves a third wisdom tradition more, that of avatar : electracy. Electracy is digital education; it's what Lev Manovich wrote about in his piece, The Language of New Media, oft-cited for it's definition of new media texts as multimodal, usually digital pieces. In short, if "literacy augmented the experience of idea (thinking)" then "electracy augments the experience of affect (feeling)" (xxii). With affect at the center of attention and how will production of texts change? How will feeling manifest itself?
The painting is like a template, including formal possibilities and content. Formal possibilities might include techniques like allegory or iconography, whereas the content presented might be derived from some sort of pre-existing literacy, such as family histories or culturally-held legends and myths.
Flash Reason is discussed in relation to the virtues of Prudence/ Phronesis (xvi).
Being is like experience and is introduced as a concept by many names, including "entelechy by Aristotle, conatus by Spinoza, monad by Leibniz, eternal return by Nietzsche, unconscious by Freud, and Daesin by Heidegger" (xx).