Facebook’s META-morphosis: The New Digital Reality
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December 15, 2021

When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences to help build the next evolution in social technology. 

Let’s dive deeper into the world of Meta, or what its creator called: “one of the most exciting projects that we’re going to get to work on in our lifetime”

What is Meta?

Facebook has rebranded as Meta, a move which it is positioning as fundamental to the company’s next era of growth as it plays a central role in building out the metaverse.

Meta banks on VR & AR to dominate computing within the next 10 years.

The change is ​​fundamental across the whole company and it really is signifying a new chapter, not just for the company that is now Meta, but the future of social technology for people – a new Digital Reality.

Zuckerberg defines it as “an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at”. The concept is that it will facilitate everything from social interactions to entertainment, shopping and work. It will allow consumers to easily teleport from one experience to another, and be accessible in different forms from a range of devices.

Meta’s mission will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.

The Metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together — and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. Now that’s cool, right? Well, it is indeed the next evolution in a long line of social technologies. 

Meta Reshaping The Future of Brands & The Digital Ad Ecosystem

There’s always the question: How will brands and advertisements work in this new virtual environment. Facebook believes there is “huge” potential for digital goods, such as digital clothing for people’s avatars. Early case studies show brands such as Gucci, Netflix and SK-II are figuring out ways to organically embed themselves within a virtual world. We could see concepts like fashion, gaming, travel, sport, work, and more expand and evolve in so many simultaneous directions. 

Do we have any GTA San Andreas fans over here? Because here’s the hot sauce, Mark revealed a new project he’s looking forward to:

Yes, you heard it right, GTA is coming to VR & not just any VR device, the Oculus Quest. Zuckerberg described the VR take on GTA: San Andreas as “an entirely new way to experience this iconic open-world in virtual reality.”

The possibilities for brands to provide remarkable experiences are really exciting.

But will less deep pocketed brands pollute the ecosystem, like the pop-ups of the web? Will ads be forced upon consumers to unlock new experiences?

One of the things we’re seeing in the emerging technology field is that brands are looking to use these creative technologies to create experiences that resonate, not just passive ads. Thus, brands should focus on inviting users to take part in meaningful experiences allowing them to engage with brands in new ways.

How Will Meta Change The Relationship Between Advertisers and The Public? 

Humans seek scarcity and uniqueness. Therefore, the advertising that will survive should offer a clear value exchange, and seamlessly built into the environment like DVOOH (digital virtual out-of-home). 

There really is potential to build ad experiences people flock to. 

“Will we trade ads for experiences? Absolutely. We already do, on and offline. This will simply evolve with what technology can provide” stated by Jonathan Edwards, head of data and transformation at Dentsu Solutions.

With content producers no longer chasing click-based sensationalism, the entire online environment has changed—people spend more reflective time on what makes them happy, and quality content has made a comeback.

Also, nowadays people want to understand how personalized ads work. Meta aims to enable such personalised experiences while respecting people’s choices on how their data is used. To that end, the company is investing in the evolution of its technology around three principles: Transparency, Choice & consent, and data minimisation & anonymisation.

Utopia VS Dystopia

How to prevent a virtual world from becoming a dystopian nightmare? As much as it sounds cool, Meta can look disturbing to others. 

If Facebook’s “like” button was the icon of the digital era, what will the icon of the metaverse era look like? Will it be as addictive? As powerful? Or possibly even more?

Not everyone shares Zuckerberg’s unflinching enthusiasm. The founder and CEO of Niantic, the developer behind AR game Pokémon Go, recently published a blog post likening such a virtual world to a “dystopian nightmare”. The novels, films and TV shows which have inspired the metaverse concept in fact “served as warnings about a dystopian future of technology gone wrong”, John Hanke wrote. Where Zuckerberg believes a virtual world will bring a stronger sense of presence with the people in your life and the places you want to be, Hanke thinks it will do the opposite.

Wilfrid Obeng, CTO at AudioMob, voices his opinion concerning this issue by explaining the metaverse technology as a relative concept: “I don’t think the metaverse is inherently good or bad as a concept. It’s how we as people use it that will make the metaverse a utopia or dystopia—and it will probably be a bit of both; just like reality. I equally believe that initially, the metaverse will be a place to dip into rather than continuously occupy. We are not going to suddenly see reality abandoned. But the idea of a persistent shared virtual space without the limitations of reality has so many exciting implications.”

Final Note

So now, Facebook wants to be in your home, on your wrist, overlaid onto your real-world perspective, and even become your whole interactive space, encapsulating more of your day-to-day experience, in more ways, as Meta.

It looks great, and Zuckerberg’s presentation of the future of connection looks like it has huge potential. But, is META really ready to facilitate this next step?

Other companies, including Atari, Epic Games and Nvidia, are building their version of what they believe will be the future of social technology. Which brings us to an important question: Will there be just one or multiple metaverses, and how will governance work in this mesmerizing virtual universe? 

With new forms of technology, there may even be other business models we haven’t yet considered/stepped foot on. 

Luxury brands now generate almost half their revenue selling digital-only goods. Everyone wants to own a Gucci skin for their avatar in the metaverse for exactly the same reason they owned a Gucci handbag in the real world. 

Of course it all comes down to one final question:

Which one will become the real world?


Elsa Chemaly
Elsa is a Marketing Executive at Hovi Digital Lab. She loves creating content people love. Her passions include digital marketing, visual communication & wildflowers.