We’ve been living in the Metaverse for a long time.
This isn’t a new take (least of all from me!) but I was struck by the fear surrounding Facebook’s launch of what appears to be… a Second Life reboot?
And if I’m understanding it correctly, that is what Facebook’s metaverse is. It’s Second Life, it’s There, it’s The Sims Online, it’s Neopets.
These kinds of explicit expressions of what the Internet has always made available crop up every so often, and they never do particularly well outside of small niches. You might be thinking, “Well, Facebook has a much larger audience—that might be the competitive factor.”
I’m not so bullish on it though. I don’t think that will matter, and I don’t think people will use it in the same way.
My gut tells me that people don’t want to be cartoon characters, at least, most people don’t.
We already have too much freedom to role play on the regular Internet, on regular social media. People will sooner catfish than more explicitly play a character, that’s been proven again and again.
Inhabiting Internet subcultures or brand-building or even just the shadows we’re able to cast with curation are much more appealing than wearing a digital skin suit.
We already know what it’s like when the digital-real life boundary gets blurry. We don’t need a video game-style interface to further immerse ourselves. In fact, I would argue there is no further immersing yourself for some people.
You want to see what the Metaverse really looks like? Check in on your friends who use Twitter 8 hours a day, your parents who watch endless loops of MSNBC.
Better yet, threaten their self-perception with reality.
That’s the Metaverse, replete with its own economies and currencies and hierarchies.
We’ve been living in the Metaverse, and for a long time.
I know you know. I know I’m not the first person to say it.
I’m just reminding you.
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