Is it Good for Social Media?
Zuck has struck again. Maybe his busy court schedule has quieted after testifying in front of Congress about his social media missteps? I’m not privy to his personal calendar, but it looks like he’s carved out some time to launch another publicity generator. With a twisty new logo.
Welcome Meta. It’s the new Facebook brand and includes its other holdings (Instagram, Oculus, WhatsApp, and more.) Facebook will also keep its name — the name change only affects the company and its stock ticker, not the applications themselves. From a marketing perspective, this new brand tier is confusing. To simplify, what does this mean — if anything — to you as a consumer and probable user of Meta products?
Mark Zuckerberg chose the name “Meta” as part of a master plan to “create a new internet.” If that sounds a little terrifying to you, you’re not alone. But there’s no doubt that Zuckerberg and his team have learned a lot about what makes people tick on the internet, and they intend to use that knowledge to its maximum advantage — and profitability.
In his announcement, Zuckerberg said, “We are a company that builds technology to connect people.” He felt that Meta, which means “Beyond”, best describes the company’s current focus.
So what’s next? Meta is making a big push into virtual reality, as can be seen in the acquisition of Oculus. They are investing heavily in augmented reality and “metaverse tech”, which envisions a shared virtual world that can be accessed through the internet.
Ready Player One is basically required reading as you get ready for this new era. Short on time? You can get the synopsis here.
Facebook Takes a Dive
It’s no secret that Facebook and its founder have been under fire. There have been a number of damaging media reports, Congressional investigations, and a general feeling that the company has been disgraced.
This hasn’t been without impact on the usage of Facebook, either. Last year the platform lost daily users in the U.S. and Canada, even while it grew in other parts of the world. Given that we’ve been through a pandemic, you would expect extremely high growth (like TikTok has experienced.) But no, it’s dropping in its original U.S. market, which is definitely a sign of things to come.
By changing the name of the company, Zuck is trying to distance himself from Facebook’s bad reputation without changing the Facebook app itself for people who enjoy it. At the same time, by diversifying the company into other online community initiatives, Zuckerberg can soften the blow of the failing social media platform and build up revenue from other avenues. Most importantly, the name change shows that Zuck is not committed to facing up to his problems.
The Monopoly Game
Similar to the IOI corporation in Ready Player One (you did read the synopsis, right?), Zuck isn’t interested in playing nicely along with others as we move toward a more virtual world. Instead, he wants to own the virtual world himself.
The Metaverse isn’t intended to be an inclusive platform where other companies can participate and reach consumers of their own accord. Instead, the Metaverse is intended to monopolize the VR realm so that competitors have no meaningful way to compete at all.
That means that to advertise in this VR world, companies like Coca-Cola and Chevrolet would pay big bucks to Zuckerberg, err, I mean, Meta. Stores would pay to open virtual locations within the digital environment. And guess who the reigning king of the empire will be. Someone who already controls not just the money, but the very terms on which people are able to connect and interact.
Why the Metaverse Isn’t Ready for the Universe
After looking into the digital science behind the user experience with Metaverse, it’s clear that the technology for a smooth engagement still has a ways to go. The biggest technology hurdle I noticed was how users would engage with VR without being connected to cumbersome, heavy, headgear. Dizziness and disorientation with prolonged use is an ongoing side-effect with many Oculus users having to adjust their eyes and balance while inside of a 3D world. I would know. Augmented reality could work with a lightweight pair of glasses. Maybe.
Ultimately, digital VR engineers still have their work cut out. There needs to be visual technology developed that connects to humans without the use of headgear or reliance on wi-fi.
Ready For Digital Domination?
I guess it’s no surprise to the reader that I’m not a big fan of the Meta plan for dominating virtual reality. It could become the next big capitalist venture designed exclusively for a single benefit. I can only hope that the government’s idea to tax the superrich becomes a virtual reality for the rest of us.