Is our world as disconnected as we think it is? Even with multiple social media platforms at our disposal to communicate with each other, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook seems to think otherwise. Zuckerberg claims that the current virtual space is missing presence. He is calling this digital universal shift “Metaverse”. The Metaverse is described as an immersive 3-D realm taking public spaces in an online form described as “Virtual reality, for all its creative possibilities, demands that you adopt a fundamentally unnatural relationship to your surroundings.”
Throughout the pandemic, many individuals have been reliant on their screens, using our devices as a barrier in return for in person communication. While our world has adapted to video calls to instead of group meetings, the Metaverse takes it a step above with “fully simulated interaction—…will be a boon for the subset of the population that has a difficult time engaging in traditional face-to-face conversation, or that wishes to reinvent their physical persona in some way.”, experiencing human connection in a way that has never been explored before. Living in a remote world does not sound obsolete. With VR technology, individuals can participate in the Metaverse, which of course comes with physical limitations as the real world still exists. Using virtual reality technology requires space to move around, depending on the activity within Metaverse, crashing into things may pose a concern.
Interestingly, over the years the popularity of televisions created a new set up in our homes, typically a TV mounted on the wall, a coffee table in the middle of the room, and a couch against the wall, giving the ability to get up and move especially if using a gaming console like Wii. In the near future, it may be possible if Metaverse gains popularity that, “we will eventually have empty “imagination rooms” in our homes where we can explore the Metaverse without physical impediments.” This new media technology may begin to blur the lines between virtuality and reality. Will this become a new existing society, absorbing ourselves into a new kind of world? Social media is already addictive enough and comes with consequences when having too much screen time, which may pose a threat to the users of Metaverse.