Yesterday during Facebook’s Connect 2021 conference, the company announced it had changed its name to Meta. As Facebook…err Meta states, “Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life to help people, find communities and grow businesses.” Metaverse? What is that? What does this mean? Now what?!?!
Let me shout from the mountain top that I’m no Meta expert, but I wanted to provide some initial thoughts on what this could mean for social media marketers.
Life changing? No. Distracting from you-know-what (cough)? Potentially. The reality is, we’ve seen this before, most notably with Google rebranding to Alphabet. Similarly, Facebook’s family of apps (WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger) will be a division of Meta, still led by the Zuck himself.
Short answer – TBD. Even Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri isn’t totally sure what Meta has in store. He posted an Instagram video to share the company’s news, noting in his caption that, “The future of the ✨metaverse✨ is not yet defined…”
As Meta explains, “The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.”
I imagine many companies, brands and people will struggle to grasp what the metaverse means for them. Why? People tend to dismiss things they don’t understand. While the pandemic catapulted virtual experiences and provided a small glimpse at what the metaverse might look like, the general masses will likely be slow to adopt until AR/VR become a part of our everyday lives. Zuckerberg himself noted that this is a long way off, with elements of the metaverse becoming mainstream in 5-10 years.
However, when it’s all said and done, I am confident that the metaverse will eventually become mainstream. Why, you might ask? I remember the rise of the internet (Netscape, anyone?) and the launch of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Most people didn’t understand the novelty of these websites and apps when they first came out. Phrases like, “Why would you tweet about what you’re watching on TV?” or “Who cares about a picture of your cat?” were commonly exchanged. Fast forward to 2021 and our lives are consumed by these very platforms. They’ve even created new industries and jobs. Heck, I work at a social media agency! That was unfathomable back in the early 2000s.
As social media marketers and advertisers, we’re constantly expanding our minds to the possibility of what could be. We’ve already started to see more AR/VR adoption via various social platforms, as well as wearable technology in the form of Snapchat Spectacle and Ray-Ban Stories, not to mention a rumored Meta watch. And this is just the beginning!
The shift to the metaverse has already begun – it’s just moving at a pace that has minimal impact. But now is the time to explore. To test. To innovate. The digital world is changing – the question is, will you be ready when the metaverse becomes the new social? Let me know what you think!
Written By: Scott Clark, Director, Account & Strategy
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