In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced his plan to focus on the "metaverse", connecting virtual reality with PC, mobile devices, and game consoles to connect to a larger virtual world. As a result, you can use any of these devices and still be connected to them.
Virtual reality is often associated with gaming, but the idea of the "metaverse" is much bigger. The idea is for someone to create a 3D avatar and use the "metaverse" as a new virtual way to connect beyond gaming, which includes interacting with other 3D avatars for business meetings, hanging out, or even attending virtual events, like concerts using VR technology.
This is seen as the next step in the internet evolution and represents a shift in how we interact with technology and each other.
The "metaverse" is meant to be a way to heighten our connections beyond a simple Zoom call. Now we can put on our headsets and meet people in virtual rooms where it looks like other avatars are right there with us in this 3D virtual world.
With this new technology whose main goal is to connect us even more than ever before, is it really bringing us closer together?
It heightens your experience for gaming, yes, but when it comes to other modes of "meeting with friends", is talking to a 3D avatar better than looking at someone's actual face over Zoom or in-person?
Human interaction in the physical world offers many mental health benefits that include boosting your mood and creates a sense of security.
When we were isolated during the pandemic, we weren't yearning for less human interaction; we wanted more in-person visits with friends and family. Of course, the "metaverse" can provide experiences you don't have access to, like riding a roller coaster or going on a nature walk without leaving the comfort of your own home, but using it as a substitute is not what we should be investing in.
The "metaverse" and VR does have their perks, but being isolated by yourself, even when you're supposed to be social, can come with increased anxiety, not to mention motion-sickness and eye strain.
Creating a better community in real life and investing in opportunities and spaces that can benefit people is what needs to happen. If we build a better real life, we won't need to turn to a digital one to fill the void.