It Is Ok To Feel Intimidated By The Metaverse

But when Facebook changes its formal name to Meta and decides to become a metaverse building company, it may well be time to move on from being intimidated and to take note.

Facebook – since its founding in 2004 – has connected the whole world via text, photo and video with its Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram platforms. But Facebook is moving on to a different planet all together; that 3D space named the metaverse, the next stage in how we connect to each other and to our physical spaces.

With immediate effect, Facebook will be now known as Meta, even change its ticker on the Nasdaq from FB to MVRS and will get a brand-new logo too. Facebook will continue to exist, but will be run as a separate business and App, much like Instagram, whilst Meta’s main business will be the development of the metaverse. Clearly Mark Zuckerberg finds the development and the building of the metaverse as life changing (Seen ‘The Social Network’?) as Facebook was 17 years ago. And he is right. Love it or not.

The metaverse, described by Zuckerberg as the “successor to the mobile internet”, will allow us to connect to each other – no longer only via text or visuals – but with real ‘presence’. This means that we can enter into/visit any type of place in the world virtually, from attending guided city tours, lectures and meetings to joining our friends– when invited of course – in their activities. Our digital presence can be in the shape of an avatar or as a hologram. Dr Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown, famous from the film Back to the Future, would have relished this now feasible feat of teleportation; the ability to move ourselves to anywhere, any time. The possibilities for learning and connecting that result from this shall be mind-blowing.

However, a quick survey amongst teens – asked to describe the metaverse – brought up words varying from ‘sad’, ‘for gamers’ to ‘weird’, ‘I will never use this’ and ‘scary’. Few of those surveyed believe that within 5-10 years a good part of their lives will inevitably play out in this metaverse. (‘Robloxers’ are the exception of course as they are already fully immersed today). This negative view could be because we do not like the idea of very big changes to our worlds and a common way to deal with this is to ignore the changes that are already visible on the horizon, until they are in front of us. We all do this, applying the Ostrich attitude: what we can’t see is not true… Ironically, Meta’s metaverse platforms are named Horizon Home and Horizon Worlds.

So, if you see the metaverse on your 5-year horizon and it spooks you that meeting your friends or going to school or work likely will involve you being an avatar, try to forget for a moment the possible weirdness or intimidation you may feel and instead imagine the fun and the possibilities.

The metaverse is like this infinite place for learning and entertainment. You can swim with dolphins, surf in Mexico, learn to fly, attend Mandarin classes in Shanghai and switch in and out of your avatar at will. You may spend time in the most beautiful places in the world, either as digital version of a physical place or as an invented oasis of the metaverse. Who wouldn’t like that?

The avatar you use will be really ‘you’, not some blue coloured robot. It will have your feelings, your voice and your expressions. Your avatar will be “as common as having a profile picture today”, says Zuckerberg, For school and work purposes, you may want to have an avatar that will look and dress like you, but for video games and entertainment you may decide to create a new you, with some extravagant looks (Dressing Your Avatar).

What you see emerging on the horizon is the fact that the world – and its much-extended metaverse version – will be your oyster, literally. There are no reasons to be intimidated. It is not as weird as you think now and could enrich your physical life beyond imagination. Plunge in and explore.

If you want to get a glimpse of what this all might look like, watch the video with Mark Zuckerberg here (it is a bit long, but worth it).

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