The Metaverse is a step forward in technology and social media.

Meta’s new direction could change the world of social media, making it more interactive and versatile for everyone with a VR headset.


Graphic created by Emilie James

Our new reality: In the virtual world you can appear however you want, and do whatever you want – like play cards in space! There are no limitations to what the metaverse can become. “This isn’t about spending more time on screens, it’s about making the time that we already spend better,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta said.

CEO of Meta (formerly known as Facebook), Mark Zuckerberg, has started to take the company in a different direction, starting with a brand new form of the social media platform called the Metaverse. The Metaverse will essentially be a Virtual Reality form of social media and social life as we know it.

With the recent buzz, it’s left people wondering what exactly is the Metaverse?

“We believe the Metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet,” said Zuckerberg in The Metaverse and How We’ll Build it Together- the announcement video for the Metaverse.

This is said in the context of the evolution of social technology – “From desktop, to web, to phones… from text, to photos, to video.”

Zuckerberg explains that virtual reality will slowly become the newest form of social media altogether, suggesting that virtual reality is going to replace today’s social media, if not render it obsolete.

This whole concept, while it may take a very long time to get there, will have a positive impact on people socially. It provides a safe environment for people to gather without the worry of the coronavirus’ spread or any other virus for that matter. It will allow users to continue to meet new people and can make it possible to virtually explore different parts of the world – this solves the problem of money, the virus, language barriers and time when planning to travel.

There are a few other goals of this project – to make VR more realistic and to allow normal daily life to occur in virtual reality. There is equipment that can allow users to feel things in the virtual world, with the haptics suit and gloves. When this technology is fully developed, we’ll be able to use nearly all of our senses in the Metaverse. They also had the idea to allow people to work in the Metaverse. From what I’ve seen, for now these jobs will be primarily software development related. There are plenty of other possible activities, like going to the movies, zoos etc. that they plan to incorporate more into this new world.

It could take a long time to achieve the goals Zuckerberg explained in the announcement video.

“The fully realized Metaverse will probably take at least a decade to happen, with subsets of technology arriving sooner,” Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, LLC said.

VR technology is already quite advanced; at least compared to only six years ago. Oculus Rift came out in March 2016 and was revolutionary at the time. It could connect to a PC to provide a full VR experience at home with downloadable VR games on the computer. Since then, we have had the Oculus Quest and the Oculus Quest 2, which is said to be the most advanced and the most comfortable VR headset so far; with no cords or console required, it is certainly the easiest to manage. All you need to use the new Oculus is the headset and the included controllers themselves. A downside for some is cost – the headset can go for around $300-$400. This is, however, a pretty common price for any VR headset. The price may change in the future as virtual reality becomes more of a norm. Oculus happens to also be a division of the Meta (Facebook) brand. They plan to use the Oculus Quest 2 for the Metaverse and any other future Oculus headsets.

I personally have the Oculus Quest 2, so I can vouch for the idea of using these headsets. You can use the Oculus anywhere you go, because the games are all downloaded directly onto the headset itself- all you need is a Wi-Fi connection. I can totally see how the Metaverse could work because of its portability and comfortability. The idea that I would be able to virtually hang out with my friends is pretty cool, if it is anything like the video announcement. I have some friends in other states who I never get to see any more, and I know plenty of people who I can’t hang out with because of the virus. Being able to go into VR and to talk and walk around with them sounds like such an incredible idea!

“I’m more inclined towards the step forward, since it’s a new way of seeing people from across the world… if you are sick, or whatever else, you can go into the Metaverse and talk to whoever you really want to,” junior Siere Carter said.

Carter believes it can be translated over to more social environments instead of focusing on the video games you can already play in VR. There are some, however, who see it as more of a step backwards.

“I think the Metaverse is a step back socially, because functionally, it serves the exact same purpose as social media, in terms of connecting with people. It’s something we already have; it’s just immersing yourself in a false reality more,” senior Christian Rios said.

There are a lot of mixed opinions on the topic of Meta and its Metaverse. No matter how you look at it, it’s an interesting way to improve technology and see how realistic we can make an augmented world. Will it ever become the new norm? Will it surpass today’s forms of social media? For now, we have no real answers. We likely won’t for many years, but I choose to be more optimistic about the idea as a whole.