I’m putting it out there, I’m not a fan of the meta verse.
Before you say, Helen, you luddite. You haven’t even given it a CHANCE!
Have you even USED Virtual Reality?
Have you ever PLAYED a VR game?
Have you ever made some kind of EFFORT to even UNDERSTAND the value and benefits of VR?
Well, yes, yes and yes.
(We even OWN a PlayStation VR headset and games)….
Look, I was one of the first people to get onto Second Life back in the day. I even wrote a blog post about it back in 2007. That’s, let me calculate….15 YEARS AGO.
I even did a funny photo for a competition about Virtual Reality and the Future of Work – and WON a free ticket to attend the Future of Work Conference in 2016.
However, back then it was a bit of kitsch, bit of fun and play, nothing that would make it take us seriously.
15 years ago, the world was much more innocent back then. Since then, there’s been a proliferation of fake news, pandemics, a collective change in the world’s psyche, everything seems to have ‘shifted‘ (for real, the earth DID shift off its axis). So now, there’s some feeling of a need of escape – an escape from a crazy physical nonsensical world to a ‘meta verse’ world where we can determine how we want to live, work and play in an environment of our own making.
Check out the advert for Horizon, Facebook’s Meta Universe and our ‘induction onboarding’ into it – and tell me that a little bit of bile doesn’t enter your mouth.
Okay, okay I’m biased in some way, and I do like to jest as you can see.
When Zuckerberg announced his new name change of Facebook to Meta along with that creepy video of his late last year, I was skeptical. For one, it’s Mark Zuckerberg. Anything that guy does should be ringing alarm bells because “Zuckerberg and his team (and men like him and his team) should not be allowed anywhere near our brains.”
However, what got me irritated was that soon after Microsoft CEO, also announced at Microsoft Ignite, their version of the metaverse. I understand that they’re trying to find an “online mid space” between home and work to gather, congregate, commune and this will be it.
Part of me thinks it’s because they’re looking at the younger generations and those people who are used to these environments through online gaming? Where creating an avatar will be your digital identity from now on.
However, there’s a huge cynical part of me that thinks this is more hype that we’re going to get marketed to. (“Facebook and the Creation of the Metaverse: Radical Business Model Innovation or Incremental Transformation). I also don’t believe it will provide any more security when it comes to our data ownership or privacy. Plus, all the considerations that companies and policymakers will need to consider when it comes to security, safety, equity and privacy.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out. For one, I know I’m going to get confused about how to act when it comes to going to my first meeting with someone in avatar form and having to come to terms with such things as:
How do I react?
What visual cues am I giving out?
How do I design my avatar to reflect my real life (RL) identity – or should I change it? (Should I become a male?)
Do I change my behaviours online?
So I’ll wait this one out. Besides, my five year plan is to be retired from work anyway as I cannot identify or connect with this new way of working. It’s just too “extreme” for me and it’s happened far too quickly for my liking. My brain can’t handle it anymore.
It is so foreign to me as someone who values human-to-human connection and communication. That’s not to say that I won’t enjoy playing a VR game every so often – I just won’t make it my default way of communicating with people through an avatar form.