I read today that Meta (Facebook) is tanking on Wall Street because the Metaverse (Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of a virtual reality existence for his customers on the internet) is meaningless nonsense that nobody would waste his time on. So untold billions of dollars of corporate value has evaporated as supposedly one of the most valuable corporations in the world had thousands of highly paid computer scientists playing around with Oculus 3D headsets and video games.
I don’t know about anyone else but I have to wonder whether these geniuses maybe aren’t really all that bright. I’ve always suspected that the federal government has used its seemingly inexhaustible supply of fake money to make Amazon, Google and Facebook horribly rich monopolies in exchange for the data that they mine from us. Amazon was allowed to drive their brick-and-mortar competition out of business and Google strangled newspapers, television and every other advertising outlet. And Facebook was allowed to get a piece of that action, as was, to a much smaller extent, Twitter. But I think in the back of his mind Zuckerberg has always thought that eventually the jig would be up. Google takes care of all the ads. What is Facebook for?
So, he tried to answer that question by imagining a new world that was so flashy and fun that everyone would be glad to waste all their time just being CGI versions of themselves and flying around. The only thing is it turns out it’s really just boring and ridiculous. Who wants to sit around all day with a 3D headset on doing basically nothing?
Maybe the good news about all this is people are starting to wake up to the limits of living on-line. What is accomplished by staring through a headset for hours at a time. Is anything being produced? Is anyone benefited?
It’s probably time for on-line companies to concentrate on a subscription model for services that people actually want. Amazon at least sells stuff and ships it to you very quickly. What does Facebook do besides spy on you? Really, not very much. At least when they weren’t suspending and banning conservatives, they had some rationale for saying they were a social networking medium. Now they’re some kind of nanny state surveillance bureau to stop normal people from communicating with each other.
So, I’m interested to see what Elon Musk starts doing with his new domain after tomorrow. Right now, Twitter is even more pathetic than Facebook. But at least it knows it. It doesn’t make enough ad money to show a profit and mostly it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone actually there watching. Although it’s hard to tell because anyone I’d be interested in is shadow-banned by definition.
I’m hoping Musk starts out by unbanning everyone and eliminating the algorithmic bias against normal people. Just starting with that might cause some interesting things to happen. It might not make any people on our side suddenly stars but it might turn off the spotlight that currently shines on the Left. I’d enjoy that.
But long term we might find out whether someone smart could make money running a town square for real and without a big government subsidy to pay the bills. Somehow, I’m still hopeful that the idea of on-line communities can have some value. Maybe all that’s needed is an honest broker allowing likeminded folks to form communities that can benefit each other. Or maybe that’s a mirage and only government money keeps these things like YouTube afloat. But it’s time to find out.
One thing I know for sure is that the Metaverse as Mark Zuckerberg imagines it, as some kind of free floating Holo-deck on the cheap isn’t an actual thing that millions of people will pay to inhabit. And the idea that people will pay money to purchase virtual land in this absurd dreamscape is beyond ludicrous. To me this exposes the juvenile sensibilities of the people running these companies. The industry is deeply in need of adult supervision. Maybe Musk will show himself to be in that category.