Avatar is used loosely in this case to mean the character in the story with whom the reader identifies; the degree to which the reader identifies with the character is the degree to which the character becomes an avatar. I feel that this application is not direct but has relevant extensions to role-playing environments.
 Intel runs a forum on precisely this discussion point: http://www.intel.com/research/exploratory/papr/meaning_of_place-forum.htm
 Jeffery Hightower explores how sensing technologies can use actions performed at a location to automatically label places at locations. His research claims that behavior can be sensed and then used to determine place and predict motivations.
 McLuhan’s The Medium Is the Message ...