Everyone is keen to find out how VR social media will be in the future. Experts around the world make predictions of their own on how social media will be after a few years.
The future of VR social media becomes especially important because, in the past few years, social media has come under increased scrutiny. Facebook and Twitter are routinely on the receiving end of one criticism or the other.
The release of the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma,’ where former tech insiders made doomsday predictions about the technology, has further stirred up concerns of privacy and addiction.
Nowadays, social media is blamed for almost everything, from increased radicalization, the proliferation of fake news, and even mental health problems.
But the jury is still out on whether the technology is responsible for these problems. Studies are still undergoing. The results haven’t proven anything conclusive yet.
But everyone can agree that social media also has a lot of positives. The adage, ‘it is how you use it’ kind of has the sense to it. For plenty of people worldwide, social media is a way to keep track of one’s family and friends and what they are up to. It has bought long-lost friends closer together, and helped strangers forge deep connections with each other, even if separated by thousands of miles.
A new phenomenon known as Social VR can do all these things that social media platforms are good at and more. Social VR is a virtual reality application where people can socialize in virtual worlds. Players need a VR headset and can communicate with others via voice and via virtual gestures.
The technology, which is still in its infancy, is going through many rapid changes. Even Facebook is exploring the possibilities with its Facebook Horizons.
There are many reasons why we believe social VR will be the social media of the future. Here we cite some of them:
One aspect of social media that critics point out is the lack of impersonal cues when communicating with people. The primarily text-based conversations around social media are devoid of significant sub-text in the forms of body language and gestures. And despite all its usefulness, emojis and text cannot combine to form powerful conversations quite as a one-on-one, face-to-face interaction can.
In Social VR, this is not a problem. You can interact with people in a 3D environment. You speak to them via your natural voice and can even make gestures.
People who have used social VR report that they feel much more connected to the people they interact with within these apps.
Social VR, in essence, can provide the same communication benefits of social media while also incorporating the positives of real-world communication.
The number of people who self-report to be lonely has increased over the past decade. Experts cite many reasons for this.
For this crowd of lonely people, at least, social media is a boon. It helps them find similar people and hang out with them. If somebody has a particular interest, they can go to many online communities dedicated to that specific interest and connect with others who are like them. It can even turn into a long-lasting friendship.
Social VR makes this better via direct communication. Since people are not those with whom you have to interact in real life, you can be much freer around them. You can express yourself and what you feel without worries.
Any social media of the future will have to take this factor of loneliness into consideration. And Social VR seems to be the one most equipped to do so.
With Social VR people can find communities they like.
Social media was already recognized as the best for this. Whether it be meditation or gaming, or even obscure hobbies that you have, you can find people similar to you with social media.
With social VR, you can interact with these people in a better way.
Instead of talking about watching movies, you can watch them together inside a virtual reality setting. Instead of talking about meditation and passing around tips, you can attend a virtual meditation class together.
The experience will be better. You can be part of communities with people who are like you.
The people who have used social VR applications for social interactions report immense satisfaction. They say the experience feels like something real. There already are plenty of active communities in these VR spaces.
Social media and Social VR may become one integrated whole in the future. At least, that is what Facebook seems to be aiming for. Then, we might be the best of both worlds.