The Next Evolution in Social Connection: The Metaverse


In late 2021, Facebook, Inc. announced a rebrand as “Meta” and would be shifting its focus to creating the Metaverse. According to Meta, the Metaverse is the “next evolution in social connection and the successor to the mobile internet.” Announcements have been made about the various purposes and capabilities of the Metaverse, leaving many people excited for its release. It has been said that people will be able to use it as an alternative to online meeting applications, for exercise, and for virtually traveling the world. The possibilities seem to be endless. However, the ambiguity of the Metaverse has left many people with one question: What exactly is the Metaverse?

What Is the Metaverse?

The idea of the Metaverse has been around in science fiction since the 1990s, but it is quickly becoming today’s reality. As a general term, the Metaverse is the idea of the internet becoming one universal, fully-immersive, virtual world. It will be accessible by virtual reality (VR) technology, phone, and computer and will allow users to interact with each other in the fictional world with their personalized avatars, resulting in full immersion of a virtual experience.

The Metaverse will likely change the way people view social media and interact with others. Until its release, predicting the impact of the Metaverse is challenging, but some experts have a few ideas: 1.) The Metaverse will allow users to interact with people and objects instead of scrolling or playing on a 2-D screen. For example, instead of playing a game on a cellphone, users will be able to enter the game and interact with objects through VR technology. Currently, interactivity happens by tapping the object on their screen. 2.) The Metaverse will allow brands or companies to market in a more interactive way, much like the aforementioned example. 3.) The Metaverse could potentially impact digital entertainment. The user would be able to interact with the content, instead of just watching it on a screen.

Facebook and Instagram

Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram.  The company has been taking gradual steps to introduce users to Metaverse functions and concepts.

Facebook has already started to introduce Metaverse ideas and functions to those who own an Oculus Quest (VR system) with Horizon Home and Horizon Worlds. Horizon Home acts as a personalized base where users can invite other users for virtual visits. With the Horizon Worlds integration, users are able to leave their home base and explore “other worlds.”

Unlike Facebook, Instagram has not yet introduced Metaverse functionality. However, Instagram is working to achieve heightened connectivity between social media platforms, which is a conceptual element of the Metaverse. In recent years, users have had the option to link their Instagram and Facebook profiles together, making it easy to post Instagram content to Facebook. To compete with video-based social media channels, Instagram is integrating video content options for users. It is believed that if users are exposed to cross-platform content regularly, it is likely that people will become accustomed to the concept of “one universal, fully-immersive, virtual world” instead of associating one platform with one type of content.

SMI Aware and the Metaverse

Social media is constantly evolving. It is imperative for firms like SMI Aware to deepen their awareness for and understanding of these changes. And when it comes to accessing evidence, SMI Aware routinely discovers and collects information from new platforms.

When the Metaverse is released to the public, it is likely that SMI Aware will undergo thorough research and testing to understand how the platform works, how users can be identified, and how evidence can be found and preserved. Currently, SMI Aware analysts utilize proprietary software and specialized tools to discover and collect public identifiers, scope-driven content, and metadata and source code for subjects online. One thing is for certain: when changes to the social media landscape change, SMI Aware will be ready. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services or to start an investigation!

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