Mark Zuckerberg announced at the Facebook AR/VR-focussed Connect event, at the end of October, that the parent company that is responsible for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus, is to change its name after 17 years with the Facebook name. The new branding for the umbrella organisation will be called Meta.
Zuckerberg announced at the event that the idea behind the name change was to reflect the long-term core ambition of the company, that it wants to build the metaverse. He said: “To reflect who we are and what we hope to build, I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same — it’s still about bringing people together. Our apps and our brands — they’re not changing either,” Zuckerberg said. “From now on, we’re going to be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first.”
What is the metaverse and how exactly will it function?
The metaverse is like the Internet brought to life, rendered in 3D. It is described as a virtual environment that we’ll be able to go inside of, instead of just looking at information on a screen as we currently do with information on the Internet. The idea is that the metaverse will become an endless online, interconnected, collection of virtual communities where you can meet other people, go to work, play games, purchase products and everything else we already do, except it will be whilst wearing our virtual reality headsets, using our smartphone VR apps, or augmented reality glasses.
As more and more devices shift to AR and VR capabilities, it is thought that the metaverse will become more popular and viable for the wider global audience. Anything could be included in the metaverse potentially, such as our favourite social media platforms (like Facebook) and all our shopping needs. It is the logical next step of connectivity when it comes to how we use the Internet for all aspects of our daily lives. The metaverse will be like a seamless, connected twin universe to our own, where we live our virtual lives in the same way we live our physical lives.
What can I do in the metaverse?
As we’ve mentioned above, you’ll be able to live your life but in a virtual world. Fancy buying something in a shop? You can do so virtually, acting as if you are in the store to pick up items. Want to go to a concert? A virtual concert online through your augmented reality device will place you at the heart of the action as if you were really there in person.
Where the big companies and the big bucks come into the picture is the idea of teleportation without the need to physically leave your room. The pandemic and working from home for many has shifted the way we perceived working. With the metaverse, the idea is that you can flit between different virtual companies and meetings, as if you were teleporting. This would act as a virtual office and workspace like nothing ever before imagined.
Why has Facebook announced Meta now?
There is no better time for Zuckerberg, and Facebook, to try and make waves with a rebranding exercise. In the recent past there has been a slew of accusations against the company and a backlash against the brand. This has included former employees leaking devastating documents to the media and US government bodies, detailing different missteps that have been made by the organisation over the years. Facing up to accusations that it has negatively built its platform up, Facebook has been primed for a change in branding, moving the core efforts to a new name that isn’t associated with what has now become consistent negative headlines.
Facebook is still the most popular product and platform for the company, but it does still face these negative backlashes and in July, Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook was gambling everything on the success of the metaverse. Put simply, Zuckerberg is going all in on the metaverse, as he thinks it is going to be a massive part of the future digital economy.
Is the metaverse more than just a Facebook project?
Plenty of other companies are talking positively about the potential of the metaverse, including Nvidia and Microsoft (who envisage Microsoft Teams as being a central part of their attempt at utilising the metaverse to improve work practices). Video game companies are also keen to become a central part of the metaverse, with online gaming already one of the biggest industries on the planet.
There are always different ways in which the cultural landscape changes every year. There has been a push on NFTs in the last year or so, with digital tickets the norm for big sporting events and live music, and with the metaverse and the potential for AR and VR to dramatically improve in the coming years, it is easy to see how we could quickly become sucked into using the metaverse for all aspects of our daily lives. You would fully expect Facebook to be a central part of that experience, even if they have changed the umbrella company name to Meta, in an attempt to deceive us into thinking everything is rosy over there.
Social media management for business
Whatever happens with the metaverse and the rebranding of Facebook to Meta, it is important to take stock and have a full understanding of the importance of your own social media branding and the management of your social platforms.
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