Author Neal Stephenson depicted a dystopian 21st century in Snow Crash, where the global economy had collapsed and governments were replaced by a few large corporations. When this book was written, the gig economy, wireless internet, cryptocurrencies, and smartphones were all considered outliers in the technological world. Nonetheless, the book’s “metaverse” vision has resurrected interest in the book.
That is because Stephenson described the online virtual reality experience that almost every tech giant today wishes to commercially exploit. Users of Microsoft’s Teams online meeting app will soon be able to transform themselves into avatars, thanks to a feature announced by the company last October. A few days later, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg renamed his company Meta, emphasising the potential of virtual worlds in the process.
Teharcanum’s view on social media’s Metaverse
Since last week, it was revealed that Facebook’s user base may not just have plateaued, but may be beginning to decline, Mr Zuckerberg’s quest to convince the world that he has found new ways to make money has become more urgent. As a result, many iPhone owners opt out of being tracked by Facebook and younger people prefer to use the Chinese-owned social media network TikTok instead of Facebook, which is owned by Facebook. Personal information about Facebook users can be gleaned from their activity there. As part of the company’s meta rebrand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has changed the company’s name from Facebook to Meta.
This may not be the case, however. Those who hold corporate social media responsible for undermining democracy have a case to make. There is a “blind spot,” according to computer scientist Ethan Zuckerman, for alternative models because of the prominence of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Even so, they’ve made their way to our doorstep. It is Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, who wants to reclaim control of personal data from the hands of corporations and put people in charge.
Metaverse: Remain Science Fiction
Different online communities can be created using other decentralised platforms like Mastodon. After a supporter was suspended, progressive Twitter users in India began using mstdn.social in 2019. Gab, on the other hand, is the largest decentralised social network, and it caters to far-right extremists. As a result, the current carbon footprint of cryptocurrency/blockchain capitalism is prohibitively high.
Tokens are commonly given to contributors on these types of sites, which theoretically makes it possible to reward high-quality content. Voting power is inversely proportional to currency holdings in this model. Steemit, a pioneering cryptocurrency platform, was acquired by a new owner who used his position to force a user exodus in favour of his own blockchain system. “A lot more social networks,” says Mr. Zuckerman, should be run by the people who use them and give users more say over what they see and how they see it. As he sees it, social media could benefit from a period of fertile creativity. Surely, one hopes he’s right.
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