Facebook’s original mission was to connect the world. And honestly, it’s worked — my friends all come together to rally against what’s been happening on the social media giant in the last few years. Between how Facebook was used to spread misinformation during the 2016 election, the company’s alleged inaction against extremism-fomenting algorithms, and the fact that Instagram sometimes just stops working for five hours, my group chats regularly buzz with how much we dislike this collection of apps we can’t get off. It’s touching.
Facebook’s reputation has taken an obvious nosedive in recent years, and Mark Zuckerberg seems to have decided the solution is expanding into the beyond. “The metaverse is a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you,” Facebook executives wrote in a Sept. 27 blog post. (To the best of my understanding, this means… holograms?) On Oct. 28, Facebook even announced that it was changing its corporate name to Meta in a reference to this concept, a move so meta that it belies Zuck’s understanding of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic.” Couldn’t he just go to space, like a normal billionaire?
But if there’s an opportunity for the metaverse to suck less than the universe, I have a few suggestions for how to stop it from going the way of Facebook. Here are 20 things we should keep out of the metaverse:
- Ads. Every surface of our digital life is covered by people trying to sell us stuff. I know that's what happens when you use digital platforms for free — somebody has to pay for all those fancy startup perks — but I have three pairs of bright yellow high-waisted jeans I bought off Instagram! Enough is enough.
- My prom photos. At 18, I hadn’t yet perfected how to hold my chin at a flattering angle. It is shockingly difficult to take photos you didn’t post off Facebook, so I also hope the metaverse has a “delete” key that actually deletes things.
- Pictures of people hiking. You were smug enough in one astral plane.
- Hashtags. These were fun/funny for six minutes in 2012. It’s time to say #Bye.
- Cryptic career announcements. Look, we all have a “big update coming soon,” depending on your definition of “big,” “update,” and “soon.” In the metaverse, we will quietly share our successes with our three closest friends, and that’s it.
- Men being allowed to correct typos on my posts. Or being allowed to comment at all. Just “like,” don’t say anything.
- People younger than me. Or older than me. I’m not saying we need a different social network for every age range, I’m just saying we need one explicitly for my age range: 30 with the skin of a 29-year-old and bank account of a 17-year-old.
- The word “metaverse.” It’s so pretentious. I can’t.
- TV show spoilers. I don’t want to know which Roy siblings hook up on Succession. It could be any of them.
- MLM-related posts. While I enjoy the middle school reunion vibes, I don’t want to get swindled by my kindergarten teacher hawking leggings. Not again.
- Holograms of my ex. I already had to run into him in Trader Joe’s, in the most embarrassing situation imaginable (I was holding two sample cups). I don’t want to repeat this with a virtual version of the tiny hotdogs.
- Instagrams of my ex. Let’s ban all the ex-grams from the metaverse, actually. They can have their own ‘verse.
- Awkward small talk at parties. If I hologram into a housewarming, can I blame my WiFi when I dip the second my coworker Jadie asks if I’m seeing anyone?
- Dating apps. I guess looking at a man through a VR headset is better than looking at eight different fish-holding pics, but I’d still prefer to avoid.
- Emily in Paris. I just know if they have it, I’m going to want to watch it, and that’s a huge waste of time.
- Reply-all emails. Zuck wrote a lot about how we’d be able to astral project into work in the metaverse, but not enough about what we’d have to do once we got there. If Barry from accounting is still reply-alling, I don’t care what metaverse we’re in — I’m pissed.
- PMS. I swear to God, if Facebook hasn’t even considered how to address this problem in MetaWorld, they’re cancelled. Like, even more so than they are already.
- All social media. Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “The defining quality of the metaverse will be a feeling of presence — like you are right there with another person or in another place.” Another option is instead of something that’s “like” being with another person, you could just be with another person. Without notifications.
- Actually, I hope there’s no WiFi. That sounds relaxing.
- Maybe no power outlets, even.