Metaverse is a newly emerging technology that has taken over the world. From award shows, real estate businesses, and fashion brands, to tech giants and social media platforms, everyone wants to expand in the Web3 metaverse.
But with vast adoption, there is a rising concern as to how the metaverse could affect society, and how it will change the concept of social appearances and interactions in the virtual world.
In a recent survey by McKinsey, the data shows that millennials, Gen Z, and Gen X users are expected to spend at least four hours every day in the metaverse by the next five years.
The hype over new technology that could potentially bring more revenue and opportunities to the world has motivated many Wall Street investors and traders to join the metaverse bandwagon.
Saying that it will take five years for a complete metaverse adoption might be less because the global companies are more than ready to introduce it to their consumers.
The tech rivalry and race to massive adoption
One of the biggest examples of how the companies are pushing the metaverse towards the mainstream is Meta or previously known as Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to be adamant about building Meta metaverse which will bring new business and e-commerce opportunities to consumers and producers.
Meta has already added the NFT feature on Facebook and Instagram; soon will add it on Snapchat and Whatsapp as well. The company seems to be testing its waters with NFTs by adding this feature.
On various occasions, Zuckerberg has continuously hinted that he wants to build a metaverse for everyone. Since Facebook has been successful with its intentions for the past decades, there’s no doubt in saying that Meta will become a reality, even if Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, says it will fail to do so.
On the other hand, Apple might also be dropping a device related to AR and VR in the coming months. Although it hasn’t shared any intentions to bring metaverse into its software, the massive metaverse adoption might convince the iPhone maker to work on its own project as well.
Similarly, Samsung is also building a Galaxy NFT ecosystem which will eventually lead to the metaverse. There are different fashion and retail brands such as Adidas, Nike, L’Oreal Luxe for Armani Beauty, YSL Beauty, Louis Vuitton, Hyundai, Coca-Cola, Balenciaga, Gucci, and many more who have opened virtual stores in metaverse platforms for fans to enjoy exclusive outfits for avatars.
Metaverse and social interactions
With the metaverse, everything has turned virtual. One thing that pandemic did for the metaverse industry was to bring the possibility of everything being virtual, and now even after recovering from the pandemic, the world has its eyes on virtual worlds.
The metaverse is expected to change the way we show ourselves to the world. When social media platforms became mainstream, there was a massive concern for social anxiety among individuals. The same is the case with metaverse as well.
If a user spends 8 hours at work from home in a virtual space and then spends half of their free time within the metaverse, then the real-life engagement will decrease and virtual engagement will increase.
When everything turns virtual, people will spend more time on keeping their social appearances perfect within the metaverse but will put no effort into their physical selves.
The idea of social interaction in the metaverse is complicated because it has its pros and cons. For instance, if a person from Asia needs to do business with someone in Europe, they save the plane and visa costs by interacting within the metaverse.
On the other hand, the immersive experience could potentially distract individuals from their reality. IRL relationships might become novice while online relationships will be common.
Jawad Ashraf from Virtua has a different opinion. In an interview with NFTStudio24, he shared that metaverse can build confidence in people who lack social skills when talking face-to-face. He believes virtual interaction could bring a social change since avatars can have one-to-one interaction with other avatars.
How can metaverse become a better technology for individuals
Every technological advancement has its concerns. Metaverse has already become too involved with our daily lives, so there’s no possibility of it going away anytime soon. The best thing to do is to set limits on the technology.
When social media came, experts went forward to educate and bring awareness to the public about the effects of its long-term usage. With metaverse, it is essential to educate people before officially launching it in the mainstream.
It is the duty of organizations, governments, and companies to make an effort and build a healthy society with metaverse. When talking about social appearances and interactions, nothing can be said because the metaverse is yet to become part of our daily lives as of yet.