Does Meta Matter?

So Facebook got renamed, or rather the parent company did. Does it matter? There’s been lots of spoof responses in social media about it, from puns on the name to the logo or just the whole concept.

It’s been widely reputed that this is part of his (Evil?) Masterplan to create a “Metaverse” for everyone to connect, work and socialise.

Umm.. HELLO Mr Z…This Already Exists…

When someone says Metaverse to me, I immediately think of SecondLife, Sansar and similar virtual worlds. But to me the term goes beyond those and is very wide ranging, probably encompassing pretty much any digital virtual world or environment.

Zuckerberg wants a piece of it, but whatever he ends up creating or calling it, to me it will just be *part* of the wider Metaverse. Its a concept not a thing you can buy or own, but no doubt he’s trying. It’s not possible to join up all the virtual worlds and spaces out there, a lot of them are technologically walled gardens. Even if it were possible would users want it? You may trust one company (or several) with your Virtual identity (in my case Linden Lab for my SecondLife) but linking all the games, virtual worlds and platforms you might have accounts on through a system run by Mark Zuckerberg? Unlikely. But then there a lot of privacy-careless or privacy-ignorant people out there that just might. Or if it’s the only way they can use their VR headset that he subsidised.

So does it matter? To some it will, others won’t care. I fall into the latter group, but because I don’t care for the privacy invasive business model of FaceBook/Meta doesn’t mean I should ignore it. If the Metaverse as I describe it above was a lake and the various virtual worlds were fish swimming along minding their own business, I’d compare Meta as a shark. It has large financial teeth and has a history of consuming potential competitors(e.g. Oculus among many others).

This analogy may not be as far off the truth as I thought. Since I typed out the above I came across an article published yesterday (30th October 2021) which mentions a 2018 report sent to Facebook board members that says:

“Let’s not build the Metaverse with the plan to help other Platforms accumulate and retain consumers[…] Let’s build the Metaverse to keep them from being in the VR business in a meaningful way at all.”

Sounds very shark-like behaviour to me. Meta will matter, but not I think in the way Zuckerberg wants it to.

Something I would recommend reading is a peice in response to Zuckerbergs announcement entitled “Facebook Meta Isn’t New. The Future Started in 2003” written by a long-time SL resident by the name of Phaylen Fairchild. Which I think any SL Resident would agree with.