If I was to ask you right now what the metaverse actually is, would you be able to give me a simple, straightforward explanation? I thought not.
Mark Zuckerberg’s big punt – pivoting towards virtual world interactions, and even going so far as to rename Facebook to Meta – is failing to set global markets alight. Its stock price is on the floor, hovering around $100 at the time of writing after falling from a high of $376 little over a year ago.
With the media enjoying a veritable feeding frenzy as a Silicon Valley giant seemingly flounders, the question remains: what’s going wrong for Meta and its metaverse?
Perception is reality – or virtual reality… or augmented reality…
Zuck’s metaverse was launched back in October 2021 along with the creation of Meta – a company designed to hold platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp together in a single group.
If Meta can get this platform off the ground, it may unlock huge possibilities for our working and personal lives. However, I feel it’s been a little too quick to communicate all the applications and benefits of a platform that still feels like it’s in an embryonic state – or can only be described as mere ‘vapourware’ in its current form.
It’s asking a lot of people to ‘come on the journey’ when all you have to show for this revolutionary bit of tech is a few avatars doing goofy things in a virtual meeting room. The Meta team needs to prove the discernable practical applications of the tech before asking people to invest in something that currently exists in an awkward hinterland.
If I was Zuck – and I’m most definitely not! – I’d have fine-tuned certain aspects of the metaverse first and released them in more digestible packages. What we’ve seen to date is Meta telling us what’s on the digital menu and attempting to shove every last conceivable morsel down our collective throat a la Python’s Mr. Creosote.
In summary: keep the comms simple, digestible and in line with what can currently be delivered in the real world.
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Ok, so we’ve established that the metaverse is a big bit of kit to extrapolate when it comes to its real-world applications. However, I also question if Zuck is the right man to do it.
Let’s be honest, Mark is a clever chap who has an enormous pile of cash to throw at this pet project. But he isn’t exactly known for his charisma – as evidenced in the cringe-making metaverse launch video which launched a slew of spoofs. In fairness, he did take the ‘p’ out of himself when he alluded to his robot-like tendencies.
The point remains though… if you’re asking people to believe in something that is only half-baked, you’d better make a good show of it and get them chomping at the megabit early doors.
Far from being the ‘throw-a-celebrity-at-it’ PR type, I do think the metaverse has suffered as a result of Zuck fronting things up. He feels like Big Tech’s version of Liz Truss… he could certainly do with a few lessons in presentation style from his buddy Elon Musk – although in comparison he does have a much better track record of delivering the goods.
See you in the metaverse
I’m fairly sure Meta can (and will) turn its current ‘situation’ around. However, it needs to come down from its Silicon Tower and reassess how it’s communicating something that’s still in its infancy to regular punters like you and me.
If it initiates Metaverse Comms 2.0 and puts in place some more platform/software tangibility, we could all be meeting up in the metaverse soon!
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