Since the beginning of the 21st century, social media has become an important tool of communication for all of us. Social media helped communication, transaction, and sharing interests increase over the time, while no physical interactions were required. Today, as people use social media in almost all aspects of their physical and digital life, companies are planning to find a new line and design an innovative strategy to come up with the changes to the world and technologies.
One of these big changes in the world is metaverse, which is an extension of social media and offers new experiences to users like live events, and collaboration based on modern technologies such as VR and AR. Popular social media applications such as Facebook (Meta), Twitter, Instagram, etc. are trying to find a way to the future methods of communication. Though it will take some time, since metaverse is at its primary steps and the technologies are developing.
In the following, we are going to study the role of metaverse in promoting social media.
What is metaverse?
Metaverse is an online virtual world where users represent themselves with avatars and enjoy a virtual life parallel to their physical life. All Metaverse features and functionalities are accustomed to ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ contents, which are no longer limited to only social applications. Such new contents are available during gaming, learning, working, or doing other activities in the virtual world.
Metaverse combines digital and physical reality and provides enhanced immersive experiences to its users. It includes various activities like buying digital properties, constructing virtual homes, or participating in different virtual social experiences. Users can customize their metaverse avatars with unique outfits and accessories.
To provide higher levels of immersion, metaverse adds augmented reality to the Internet. Interactive 3-D models and new strategies will help a more realistic digital experience. Metaverse makes use of multiple trends and technologies, such as:
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Virtual reality (VR)
- Internet of Things
- AR cloud
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Non-fungible Tokens (NFT)
- Spatial technologies
How does metaverse work?
Simply put, metaverse is made up of seven layers which are:
- Experience: Metaverse will offer its users both three-dimensional (3D) and two-dimensional (2D) experiences that they cannot experience at present.
- Discovery: Metaverse has both inbound and outbound discovery systems. Inbound discovery is when people search for real information and outbound discovery is sending messages to people whether they have requested them or not.
- Creator economy: Programming knowledge was required to design and build tools in previous versions of the Internet. However, web applications can be created without knowledge of programming in metaverse.
- Spatial computing: Spatial computing combines AR and VR, and users can use face filters on Instagram or similar platforms for spatial computing.
- Decentralization: Decentralized Metaverse has a key feature, all assets and user activity are recorded in Blockchains. It allows users to create their avatars and monetize them in metaverse.
- Human interface: A user can get info about surroundings, create maps or even share AR experiences by just having a look at the physical world. This amalgamation of spatial computing, human interface, and AR allows to receive and use of maps,
- Infrastructure: The technological infrastructure including the 5G network is essential for other layers to exist that help reduces congestion and increase bandwidth.
In fact, metaverse provides a fully virtual world where users can run a virtual life along with a physical one. Such a virtual world includes all activities and objects available in the physical world, including art, music, gaming, sports, real states and many more.
Therefore, advertisement will also be necessary to promote the market and get the most possible attention to the businesses and brands that live and work in metaverse. Metaverse will have an intense impact on social media. It will open up new social benefits and unlock new financial opportunities that would help users in the near future. Besides, there will be fundamental behavioral changes as well as the changes in technologies. Changing from 2-D to 3-D and online interaction leads to more immersive experience in communication and other aspects of life.
Metaverse can simply be defined as a combination of gaming, productivity tools, e-commerce, and extended reality (XR), including both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and, as a main feature, social media.
Gaming, productivity tools, and e-commerce gives us the chance to work, play, and shop in metaverse. On one hand, XR features ensure that metaverse is immersive and let us feel the sense of “being there.” And on the other hand, elements of social media ensure that the experiences are connected to the real world as users can share them with real people.
Therefore, social media will become immersive with Metaverse. Over the past 20 years, social media, or an archetypical Web 2.0 app, merely allowed people to communicate, transact and share their interests virtually without having to travel. Such communication made many social media companies created large networks of services and products around their core operations. However, in the new era, social media platforms along with metaverse try their best to provide immersive, interactive experiences that stimulate our real senses in life, which is totally different from just connecting to our friends over 2D web pages. It seems that social media companies have found it necessary to rethink their strategies to answer the new requirement of their users due to the increased attention to new concepts such as metaverse.
Many consider metaverse as an extension of social media. It will add immersion into the equation and offer more realistic experiences for users. Metaverse has already brought together many familiar elements of social media, such as collaboration, commerce, live events, and immersive experiences, all using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies.
As the result, it is clear that metaverse is going to widely influence, and change, social media to satisfy the users who wish to experience the new immersive world of metaverse while they keep in contact with others.
Social media companies have the potential to make a lot of money from the Metaverse. Metaverse enables them to grow the number of their users, particularly among Generation Hashtag. Hashtag users are digital natives who have a digital presence as well as their physical identity and are willing and able to invest in new technologies and services to expand online activities. Many social media companies aim to attend in metaverse in order to meet Generation Hashtag’s expectations. To do so, brands from various sectors, including clothing (e.g., Nike, Gucci), banking, HSBC, and technology (e.g., Sony), are investing to get a place in metaverse. Accordingly, brands are partnering with social media platforms to figure out the best experiences for this influential group. This partnership uses metaverse to expand social media, as well as provide new opportunities for consumers and business acquisition.
On the other hand, consumers use their avatars to join and participate in metaverse as a virtual shared space that combines all virtual worlds, the Internet, and augmented reality. This will change the social media marketing landscape, too. Advertisers will determine consumers by their online presence and virtual environment and target them in metaverse. Interactive 3-D models and new strategies will revolutionize the marketing of products. Collaborative NFT marketplaces, such as Bluemoon, combine all aspects of VR/AR with their metaverses and leverage social media to empower creators and users. Bluemoon, as an example, allows its consumers to create customized VR spaces to showcase their products or brand in a modern way.
Virtual Search is a key concept in the metaverse. It allows users to easily search for products by focusing on a specific item in a virtual space. Therefore, social media marketers are provided with new opportunities to offer better products that target consumers who indeed need them. For example, virtual magazines help users customize their metaverse avatars with unique outfits and accessories through featuring celebrity avatars unique outfits.
Therefore, social media marketers can create content using augmented reality as they can partner up with producers and celebrities to sell products.
Metaverse will soon become a more immersive form of advertising. In the physical world, people face adverts everywhere they go, on the streets, in shops, and even in public toilets.
Most of us have found ways to ignore them. However, it will be different in metaverse. Advertisers will have many more opportunities to catch the attention of consumers and sell them stuff. Joining metaverse, advertisers will be able to target a wider range of consumers based on their location, interests, and even the time of day.
Brands like McDonald’s and Nike are two successful businesses that have already begun creating digital versions of their products that could be sold in both the real and digital worlds.
Right now, businesses see metaverse as an extension of their ability to advertise and promote their products and services in consumers’ physical and virtual lives. Businesses have made use of successful forms of advertising emerged through web2 social media, think of the large number of influencers who redefined the marketing industry, and they are sure that web3 will bring new ways for building hype and excitement around brands.
Brands including Nike, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hyundai, Coca-Cola, etc. have already begun creating virtual versions of their products that can be sold as NFTs within the digital world. Their products are mainly used to decorate and supply avatars and virtual spaces. It seems that brands wish to apply their experience with influencers in physical world in metaverse and create “influencer avatars” who can directly influence the buying decisions customers make while shopping in metaverse. Therefore, brands need to be highly creative to take the best advantage from metaverse and create new and more immersive customer to attract and connect to their consumers.
Safety is always an important issue in social media. In an immersive social media setting, there can be a potential for harm caused due to more immersive, engaging, and quite possibly more addictive settings.
Although social media have gifted society lots of positive benefits, such as making it easier to connect with friends and family, it is also accused of enabling harmful behavior such as cyber-bullying, harassment, and the spreading of conspiracy theories and fake news.
Some experts argue that more immersive social media, which is much more engrossing and entertaining, has the potential to magnify such threats. This could make the web3 version of social media a less safe place for users. Others state that users need to understand these hazards and know the tools that platform providers put in place to limit the danger. As an example, Meta added a “safe zone” feature in its last promotion that allows users to instantly create a barrier around themselves when early adopters complained of “virtual groping” and other unpleasant behavior.
Besides, metaverse users need to use their avatars to represent themselves and these avatars live in a blockchain and are stored in a digital wallet. An NFT avatar is fully recorded and traceable in a blockchain so that such virtual crimes can be easily distinguished.
A final word
Metaverse will have a profound social impact on its users. It will allow brands and businesses to explore new possibilities and promote creativity. Since almost all social media platforms are trying to find a place in metaverse, they in a collaboration with metaverse will revolutionize the world in near future. Along with the development of new technologies and inventions for metaverse, social media will go from 2-D to 3-D and online interaction will become more immersive, which allows users to communicate with family and friends around the globe in an entirely new appearance and way.
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