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Here's What You Need To Know About Facebook And The Metaverse

What do you think about the Metaverse? Will you be plugging in or plugging out?

We're sure most of you have already heard Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg latest announcement proclaiming that Facebook is changing its name to Meta Platforms Inc., referred to as just 'Meta'. Yes, Facebook will still exist as it is now, and Zuckerberg still owns and operates Instagram, Whatsapp, and Oculus VR, but what does this change in name mean for the future of social media platforms, and what the heck is the Metaverse?  

In short, the Metaverse is all hypothetical, meaning that as it currently stands, the Metaverse is just an idea, a very big, all-encompassing idea, that could change the future of the internet and our perceived reality forever *head explodes*. The simplest way to comprehend the Metaverse is to imagine a digital world, something like a real-life video game, where you can communicate across different devices, work, play, shop, or as Zuckerberg explains it, exist "across different layers of reality." Another way you might imagine it is instead of being "on" the internet, you would be "in" the internet.   

Because the Metaverse is in its inception stage, it is difficult to grasp exactly where this new "world" might take us. At Facebook's--or should we say Meta's--annual Connect conference, Zuckerberg promised a Metaverse that would be "less obtrusive, more organic [and] more natural and vivid" than the internet. Stressing that the most important experience of all is "connecting with people." Meta's lofty goals seem to circle around the idea that users in the Metaverse would experience a "shared sense of space" and feel less alone in their daily lives.   

Of course, something as reality-shattering as this is being met equally by people celebrating the future of technology, and critics who worry if we are wading too far into the abyss. Washington Post writer Steven Zeitchik outlined the impacts on our personalities that come with adopting an avatar in the digital world, called the Proteus Effect. Whereas Kyle Chayka with The Newyorker, took a more skeptical viewpoint, stating "this hypothetical world would require sitting on your couch strapped into a V.R. headset and wearing motion-tracking gloves—not a particularly 'natural' state."   

Regardless of the wide-ranging opinions of this new internet, tech billionaires are pushing forward with it, hoping to bring us the first version of the Metaverse in the near future. In ten years from now, Zuckerberg predicts that at least a billion people will be operating in this new reality.   

What do you think about the Metaverse? Will you be plugging in or plugging out?

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