By LANCE HOOPER
At first glance these days you might think Facebook is getting a facelift, and, at 17, you might even think they’re a little young. In all actuality Mark Zuckerberg has merely forklifted a new future for Facebook, and it’s siblings WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, Mapillary, Oculus, Workplace, Portal, Diem and put the whole family up for adoption. The good news is that Meta Platforms, Inc. adopted the entire family. Reconstructing Facebook by dissociating the brand with all its other brands is a smart move for Facebook, but for some it might leave a bad aftertaste like drinking a diet soda. However, rising from the dust of reconstruction is a new Meta-verse of possibilities.
You would have to be living under a rock not to be aware of all bad press for Facebook these days. So when I first heard they were changing their name to Meta, I was like, not so fast Facebook, the name change seemed a little ominous. Does Facebook deserve all the close scrutiny? Most definitely. You can’t say the idea of Facebook isn’t a brilliant concept that started with seven employees and now has over 25,000 worldwide. The more, we as a society depend on digital information the more we will become a data analytics driven consumer. 200 million small businesses depend on Facebook. As a social media platform, Facebook owns 59% of the market share. With power comes responsibility and I feel Zuckerburg is taking the steps to fix Facebook’s inadequacies by giving it a parent company. Facebook is now solely responsible for Facebook and how it impacts the social media world. Zuckerberg wants his company to grow without always being associated with just Facebook. The growing pains really do make sense at this stage in the game.
Some of the brands that fall under the new Meta technology platform I’m not familiar with like Mapillary, Diem or Workplace, while other brands like WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus are household names. Mapillary is a service for sharing crowdsourced geotagged photos. Diem (formally known as Libra) is a block chain based payment system. The digital cryptocurrency and block chain network has not launched yet, but the brand is set to launch soon. Workplace from Meta is a collaborative software tool that is set up to facilitate online group work and video conferencing. I’m still curious and you should be too.
What is a Metaverse? Metaverse is a place where you can work, game, communicate and congregate in a virtual environment. Metaverse is a cyberspace parallel to a physical reality. This is possible through the merging of physical, augmented and virtual reality. One of the brands from Meta platforms already on the market implementing this technology is Oculus. Zuckerberg says “You should think of Metaverse as the internet brought to life as a “virtual environment you can go inside. It will be an endless world of interconnected virtual communities.”
Now that I’m more aware of what the changes at Facebook entail, I’m less concerned. I just want social media networks to encourage actual social interaction, not divide people. The idea of social media is a fun idea. Social media has a positive impact on local businesses. I just want all social media platforms to recognize the huge social impact they have and navigate going forward with the consumer in mind first, profits second. Zuckerberg says he “wants the Metaverse to let people know they are not alone.” I say a tool is only as good as the knowledge that goes behind it, so let’s encourage and inspire better social media standards of operation that truly bring people together.