Godfrey Reggio said, “It’s not that we use technology, we live technology.” What if we tell you that you can now live inside technology? Pretty bizarre right? Just when we think we have reached the tipping point, new innovations and technologies dazzle us.
Unless you were living under a rock or stayed away from the internet, you may have heard about the metaverse. But what exactly is the metaverse and why is there so much noise around it? In simple words, the metaverse is new, innovative, and a potential game changer in the next leg of the internet.
While speaking about the next leg of the internet, it is impossible to ignore Web3. In plain and simple text, Web3 is a concept that is tipped to pave the way for the next version of the World Wide Web. It incorporates multiple concepts including blockchain technologies, token-based economics, and decentralization.
So, what will the onset of Web3 mean for our beloved social media platforms? Will the metaverse replace social media in the future? Can the metaverse and social media co-exist? Read along to find out.
Before we begin, let’s understand what the metaverse is.
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What is a metaverse?
Did you know that Neal Stephenson, the author of “Snow Crash” coined the term metaverse in 1992? Since then, we have seen metaverse development shift gears, and at present, it is treading with great momentum.
But what is metaverse? The metaverse is a virtual world wherein physical and digital reality share a common space. Often touted as the next iteration of the internet, this virtual network primarily focuses on forging social connections.
While there is no pre-defined definition of the metaverse, it is a three-dimensional, experimental, and immersive world that creatively integrates the virtual world and augmented reality (AR).
If you want to experience what’s going on in the metaverse, you would need AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets. We must point out that the metaverse is a combination of several new-age technologies and trends.
Some of these are virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), spatial technologies, cryptocurrency, blockchain, and head-mounted displays.
Currently, there are four main metaverse worlds. These include Sandbox, Somnium, Decentraland, and CryptoVoxels. That said, as we speak, new metaverses are under development, creating both, threats and opportunities.
Social media and the metaverse, what’s the future looking like?
Let’s admit that social media enjoyed a wild run over the last decade. That said, many speculate that the onset of the metaverse will put an end to social media’s dominance and mark the beginning of a new era for the internet.
While that is a possibility, the metaverse could also transform the way we use social media. In fact, many social media and tech companies are putting their skin into the game by getting involved with the metaverse in one way or the other. Do not believe us?
One of the world’s largest social media companies, Facebook, changed its name to Meta at the fag end of 2021. This wasn’t just a mere change of the name by a company. It was a symbolic statement from the company stating that it is pivoting from solely a social media heavyweight into a diverse tech conglomerate.
While social media platforms have enabled billions of people from across the world to share videos, and images, and communicate with each other, we expect to see a few changes in this regard in the metaverse. When Facebook became Meta, it was a clear signal that even the goliaths of social media are rethinking their strategies.
Now, let’s circle back to the argument that the metaverse will replace social media. We believe the metaverse is an extension of social media. It will bring elements of immersion into the picture and create unique experiences for users. The metaverse will feature various aspects of social media including commerce, collaboration, and live events which will primarily be based on augmented and virtual reality.
That said, it could take a few more years until we see the metaverse in its true form as its underlying technologies are in the early stages of development. We expect regulators to keep tabs on the development of these technologies.
As social media is rife with advertisements, misinformation, online harm, data privacy issues, and copycat experiences, regulations will also be a major concern for the metaverse. Metaverse platforms are likely to navigate through similar challenges while collecting personal and biometric data from users.
Will social media benefit from the metaverse?
The metaverse will open up lucrative opportunities for social media platforms around the world. For starters, it will play a huge role in boosting their user base, especially in “generation hashtag”, a term used for people born between 1991-2005.
A majority of individuals who fall in this age bracket are digital natives who are readily willing to explore new technologies and services. This is exactly why many social media platforms are pivoting from online dating, image/video sharing, and chatting toward the metaverse.
Many brands from different companies have wasted little time exploring the possibilities of the metaverse. Besides, they see value in investing resources toward the metaverse to strike a chord with the “generation hashtag.” and offer unique experiences. Some popular names include Nike, Gucci, HSBC, and JP Morgan.
While we can call these companies, the frontrunners in the race to adopt the metaverse, others are still figuring out how they can leverage it to their advantage. We are likely to see strategic partnerships between social media platforms and companies from different industries in the future. This trend will confirm that the metaverse can expand social media, opening up new opportunities for business acquisition and consumers.
Social media marketing landscape in the metaverse
Social media marketing could get a makeover when the metaverse well and truly arrives. As mentioned earlier, the metaverse is a virtual shared space that combines different virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. Users will wander around the metaverse in their virtual avatars.
Many brands are taking this into account while formulating marketing strategies. The arrival of the metaverse will transform the course of social media marketing.
Advertisers will target consumers based on their online activity and virtual environments. Innovative marketing strategies and interactive 3-D models will change how products are advertised in the metaverse.
Bluemoon is a nice example. It is the very first international marketplace for collaborative NFT. With its own Metaverse, it blends various aspects of VR/AR and uses social media to enable producers and users. People can design unique VR locations with Bluemoon, which allows them to promote their products or brand creatively.
Virtual Search is one of the key concepts in the metaverse. It allows users to look for products by focusing on a certain item in a virtual space. The metaverse will open the floodgates to better, realistic, targeted, and immersive marketing. If you are a social media marketer, it is a good time to consider creating content using augmented reality.
Will social media be safer in the metaverse?
While the metaverse brings an air of excitement along with it, we should also examine the potential threats. We believe that an immersive landscape will make social media even more addictive and engaging than it is today.
While there is no doubt that social media offers a host of benefits, The Netflix film “The Social Dilemma” sheds light on the dangerous impact of social networking on humans. Over the past decade, we have pointed fingers toward traditional social media for many reasons. Some of them include cyberbullying, spreading fake news, and harassment.
Social media in the metaverse will be more vulnerable to all the problems faced by traditional social media platforms. Hence, many experts say that the Web3 iteration of social media could do more harm than good. Users need to understand the potential threats and hazards put forward by social media in the metaverse.
The onus is also on metaverse creators to ensure that people feel safe in their virtual world. For example, Meta was asked to include a “safe zone” feature that enables users to create a protective barrier around themselves after early adopters complained of unpleasant behavior.
Entering a new world in the metaverse
The metaverse is here and we need to accept that. Conventional Web2 social networking or social media platforms have enabled people from different parts of the world to stay connected. That said, we are not very far away from entering a whole new world filled with virtual avatars, properties, and marketplaces.
The metaverse and social media networks will come together to create unique experiences for humans. Maybe, it is a good time to get away from mundane flat-screen scrolling and step into a whole new world rife with intensified and magnified elements of conventional social media.
We cannot wait to see what the future of social media and the metaverse looks like. What about you? Share your thoughts and let us know what you think about the metaverse.
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