The Metaverse is...
Yesterday, I asked y'all to tell me what you think "The Metaverse" is and what you think about it. You wrote in with some excellent responses! Big thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts.
There were a few themes that stood out in the responses:
The concept is unclear, even though the term is overused. (agreed)
Its purpose and usefulness are questionable. (fair)
It's basically VR or 3D worlds. (commonly associated, but not 100% necessary)
It's built on top of blockchain. (true)
There were more detailed and nuanced points made that deserve their own posts in the future, but for now, we'll stick to clarifying what this thing is. The Metaverse is not just a product built by Facebook. There can be many metaverses, each owned and constructed in part by the people who participate. It's a concept that can be applied to any virtual world, and it shouldn't inherently be tied to VR or other immersive tech.
The most important characteristic of a metaverse is human society in a virtual context and how it impacts and enhances our real lives.
Consider real-life society. There are relationships, laws, money, jobs, social norms, etc. Each of these real world concepts can be (and has been) replicated online. People find autonomy, connectedness, and fulfillment by putting their free time into these online virtual worlds. In most cases today, their effort is not rewarded in a way that carries into the real world.
In virtual society, you can bring real value to other people's real lives. Maybe you listen to someone talk, organize a digital concert, perform stand up comedy from home, guide new players through a boss fight so they can level up and play with their friends, or just about anything else. The metaverse is an opportunity to recognize that value through the free exchange of goods, services, and currencies in a digital context.
In the metaverse, you can work a full time job that's no less meaningful than many real world careers. You can form relationships with depth much like the real world. You can share rewards obtained in the metaverse with the real world and vice-versa.
P.S. This post was inspired and heavily influenced by Herman Nerula's book Virtual Society. I highly recommend you give it a read if you're interested in this concept. I'll be digging into it more in future posts.