Metaverse will be an extension of social media

The metaverse is a virtual world where users share experiences and interact in real time in simulated scenarios. These will be virtual interactions that will extend beyond existing social media platforms. Companies are investing in the metaverse, aiming to attract and engage with young customers, especially Generation Hashtag.

Social media has become a powerful theme over the past two decades. It enables people to virtually interact, transact and share interests with others, eliminating location barriers. This has allowed popular platforms to attract billions of users and blur the lines between video sharing, blogging, messaging and online forums. Social media companies have built vast ecosystems of products and services around their core businesses. However, the need to differentiate themselves from their peers is pushing social media companies to rethink their strategies. Simultaneously, companies are also seeing slow user growth due to growing data privacy awareness, intrusive advertisements, and growing attention to new concepts like the metaverse.

The metaverse will be an extension of social media, adding immersion into the equation, which will bring new experiences to consumers. The Metaverse will combine several familiar aspects of social media, such as collaboration, e-commerce and live events with immersive experiences based on Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).

However, this will take time as the Metaverse is still mostly conceptual and its underlying technologies are still maturing. Meanwhile, regulators will closely monitor the development of the metaverse to highlight any potential harm to users and user data.

Metaverse platforms will be subject to regulatory scrutiny

A key challenge that the Metaverse will need to address and overcome will be regulation. Social media is plagued by ads (the main source of revenue for platform owners), misinformation, data privacy and online harm issues, and copycat experiences. Metaverse platforms will face similar, if not more, problems when collecting biometric and personal data from users.

The social media companies leading the way on the metaverse are also the ones that have been accused of mishandling user data. Meta, for example, made headlines in 2021 due to claims by whistleblower Frances Haugen that the company’s ad and data-driven algorithms were placing profits over well-being and health. safety of its users. Misinformation on social media platforms was also condemned. The amplification of misinformation and data privacy concerns will prompt lawmakers to take a proactive stance in regulating the industry. Regulators must, however, be careful to avoid stifling a nascent concept at an early stage.

Generation Hashtag is at the center of emerging metaverse platforms

The metaverse is a potentially lucrative concept for social media companies as it will allow them to expand their user base, especially among the Hashtag generation, defined as anyone born between 1991 and 2005. This demographic group represents natives who value a digital presence on par with their physical identities and are willing to invest in new technologies and services to grow their online business.

Social media companies of all persuasions, from video sharing to online dating, are thus growing in the metaverse, aiming to meet the expectations of Hashtag Generation. Brands from various industries, including apparel (e.g. Nike, Gucci), banking (HSBC, JP Morgan) and technology (e.g. Accenture) – are taking early positions in the metaverse to appeal to this demographic , both as employees and consumers. . While many are still figuring out which experiences will suit this cohort, the first step is to partner with social media platforms. This further establishes the point that the metaverse will expand social media and serve as a tool for consumer acquisition and new business opportunities.

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