Some people have cool jobs where when they’re asked what they do – fireman, policewoman, doctor – they have jobs people understand and cool stories to tell.
Then, there are jobs like mine. I think it’s cool but the glazed-over look in people’s eyes and awkward silence that follows after I explain I’m a metaverse researcher is painful, to say the least.
I went out to dinner the other night with a group of friends. It was fun because one of my friends now works with me at Journey! She was explaining her new job (researching the metaverse with me). These were the responses we got:
“What is the metaverse?”
“What is an avatar?”
“What is an NFT?”
“I wouldn’t last 10 minutes at your job.”
Now, these are women whose kids play video games. They themselves use Snapchat AR filters. They have Apple phones and memojis.
They use aspects of the metaverse without even knowing it.
So, I thought I would break the metaverse over the next few weeks. Hopefully, in a way that people think is fun and cool, so I don’t have to dread talking about work again. haha
So let’s start with the first question.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is the blending of physical and digital. It’s where our virtual lives are no longer separated from our physical ones, but converged. As we do more in the virtual world, we place more value on virtual items. For instance, I saw a social media post where a dad said his kids prefer Roblox Robux as an allowance instead of dollars.
Cathy Hackl, my metaverse mentor, and leader at Journey, described in a Coindesk interview:
Web 1 connected information, so you got the internet. And did that change anything for your brand? It probably did. Web 2 connected people and you got social media, the sharing economy. Did that change anything for your brand? Of course it did, right?
And now we’re in the evolution of Web 2 going into Web 3. And Web 3, it connects people, places, and things – or people, spaces and assets. And those people, spaces and assets can sometimes be in a fully virtual environment, like most people tend to think.Coindesk.com
We’ll experience the metaverse in a few different ways.
This will happen gradually, in a way that you won’t have to think about (brands, on the other hand, will).
You probably already experience the metaverse.
- Attended a concert in Fornite (or watched your kid at the concert)
- Build something in Minecraft, Roblox, or RecRoom
- Use a face filter on Instagram or Snapchat
- Used AR to see how a piece of furniture would fit in your home
- Bought something through Instagram without leaving the app
- Sent a Bitmoji or Apple memoji instead of pictures of yourself
One of my favorite definitions of the metaverse is it’s a “people movement”.
Since the inception of Google and Facebook, the past 20 something years of the internet have been based on ads and data – your data. The metaverse has the promise of an internet based around people, data rights, and anonymity online (if we choose). Instead of platforms dictating what we can or can’t do online, we’ll have a decentralized blockchain – basically, we’re free to move about the web, platform to app, with control of where our content goes.
You may not think this affects you. You might not mind using Facebook.
But it does in subtle ways.
You know how you have to read a person’s life story before getting the recipe on a food blog? That’s because people have to write paragraphs and include keywords to be ranked on search engines like Google. I don’t know anyone who actually likes to read all that – just jump me to the recipe! In the new internet, we’ll get the value of the recipe first (in theory).
So, when it comes to all this metaverse/Web3 stuff, I want to talk about it in a way that is interesting to people. To talk about the metaverse without eye rolls, glazed looks, and but why? attitudes.
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