“I’m sick of reading all of these LinkedIn agency opinion pieces on Meta already”
Well, I hope this is your first.
The rebrand we’ve all been waiting for has landed. Facebook’s new name is… Meta Platforms Inc or ‘Meta’ for short.
Hmm I don’t know about you, but my reaction to the name reveal was a bit more… meh-ta 🤷🏻♂️ .
Still, the announcement is about to boil over into every ice-breaking client conversation and blog post topics this month. So it’s time to make you the professional in the room.
OK, hold on tight, this is about to be soooo meta.
Q1. Why is the company called Meta?
Meta is actually a Greek word that “symbolizes there’s always more to build.”
We’ve been using the word Meta, particularly in meme culture, forever, but right now it’s the Zuckgeist.
Zuckerberg feels this word symbolises that there is always more to build, and there is always a next chapter to the story. Which explains his $10 billion / year punt into a less familiar world of social interaction, the metaverse.
Have a read of these company defining statements in the Founder’s Letter and pick your favourite to regurge elsewhere:
“It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company.”
“Our mission remains the same – it’s still about bringing people together. Our apps and their brands aren’t changing either. We’re still the company that designs technology around people.”
“From now on, we will be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first. That means that over time you won’t need a Facebook account to use our other services.”
In reality, we all know this is a massive diversion tactic, but like the greatest magicians, we’re all still pretty engrossed.
Q2. What is the Metaverse?
This is Facebook’s definition:
“The ‘metaverse’ is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”
A shorter precision-engineered definition for you is:
“The metaverse is an interactive simulation in which people interact as avatars in real time.”
Sounds cool doesn’t it? I think it 100% beats scrolling up and down the feed aimlessly in bed.
I honestly reckon we’ll look back at the feed and laugh like we laugh about MySpace.
I’d much rather sit and have a drink with my friend who can’t leave his house because his kids are sleeping upstairs, around a virtual table, on a Friday night, than hear he can’t make it out.
But that’s a totally subjective view! What I do know is that people have been gathering ‘physically’ in online spaces for a very long time, most recently over Zoom or via a Playstation game for example. So this new reality isn’t so alien to us.
Last Christmas I started testing out some of Facebook’s beta Virtual Reality products, like Facebook Horizon, where you can do just the above. You put the Oculus headset on and go to watch a band, or a comedy gig, in a virtual space, with other people from all over the world.
The experience really is game-changing, but it’s early days.
+’ve – All from the comfort of your living room – which was an ace place to be during COVID.
-’ve – It feels a bit GoldenEye N64 at the mo.
Q3. How do we get into the Metaverse?
Technically speaking the Metaverse doesn’t exist yet.
But, it’s widely predicted to replace the internet.
Meta plans to be the face of it’s future and want everything they release, from a product POV, to ladder up to this new world. Hence their heavy investment in the space.
As mentioned above, the closest access point to the Metaverse at the moment, is a Virtual Reality device, like the Oculus Quest. The Oculus (soon to be renamed) mission statement is simple:
“To build the tools that help people feel connected anytime, anywhere.”
Take a look at Andrew Bosworth’s latest update for the full download – it’s absolutely awesome stuff from the VP of AR/VR at Facebook, imo.
Beyond the clunky VR headsets (that we’ll also be laughing about soon), you may have noticed Meta’s investment in Augmented Reality devices like RayBan Stories. At the moment, these glasses only shoot and record video, but they’re the first step towards integrating what you see with Artificial Intelligence.
Mind bloooown. Black Mirror yooooo.
But the future isn’t all about Meta.
The mixed reality race is coming.
Q4. What’s going to happen to Facebook? Will I lose my uni photos?
It’s all good, your beer pong champion videos are going nowhere.
The company’s main social app will now exist under the new umbrella – Meta Platforms Inc, alongside Instagram and Whatsapp.
So the metaverse business will operate separately from Facebook’s social media apps.
The interesting part here, for brands, is how they’re going to start integrating the new technology into their traditional services.
How do you think they’re going to start coaxing us away from the feed? Drop us a message on LinkedIn with your theories.
Q5. How should we respond as a brand to this news?
In the Connect 2021 launch video, Zuckerberg implies lots of opportunities for brands to integrate into the metaverse, particularly in the spheres of avatar clothing, merchandising, gaming, NFTs and entertainment (see Travis Scott).
It’ll also be massive for creators and developers, who’ll collaborate to build spaces for people to interact with each other in.
So a level of awareness regarding what’s coming and seeking opportunities to be first-to-market with headline grabbing activations are going to be massive for brands that fit into these spaces, initially.
For example, I can envisage a brand like Burberry charging extortionate amounts of money for a bespoke clothing range you can dress your avatar in from your Horizon Home cupboard.
I recommended in December 2020 that we should start investing in AR + VR partnerships in 2021. So if you’re not exploring or producing mixed reality experiences for your brands yet then you should definitely be thinking about it.
Beyond investing in partnerships, I think you should be increasing the technological understanding of the metaverse, at a basic level. Try to have a meeting with your client in a Horizon Workroom for example.
Invest in an Oculus and show employees how it works. Then encourage them to seek opportunities for the tech to be deployed across a brand campaign.
That’s exactly what I’m going to do in November – I’m going to bring the tech in for a series of workshops!
Anyway, that’s it. I could talk about this all day, so please hit me up for a chat. My name is Joe Moring and I’m the Senior Content & Social guy here at SHARE HQ.
**puts Oculus on**