By now you must have heard the news from Facebook about its new name—Meta.
In case you haven’t read the details, it boils down to this: Facebook the company is changing its name to Meta, which will represent the overarching brand as owner of a series of apps and technologies. The apps you’re familiar with under Meta’s umbrella (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and so on) will remain the same.
“Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses,” it says on the company’s website. “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 like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.”
A letter written by founder Mark Zuckerberg discusses the vision for this “metaverse,” offering his hopes for the future of the brand as well as some of the things it will take to reach his goals.
“The metaverse is the next frontier in connecting people, just like social networking was when we got started,” writes Zuckerberg. “Right now our brand is so tightly linked to one product that it can’t possibly represent everything we’re doing today, let alone in the future. Over time, I hope we are seen as a metaverse company, and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we’re building toward.”
News of this big change comes amid Facebook’s serious image (and legal) issues, which are alluded to—but not directly discussed—in Zuckerberg’s letter. You can read the letter in its entirety here.
So what would this metaverse look like for the jewelry industry in the future? Maybe it’s hosting international customers for a store happy hour in real time. Maybe it’s less money invested in traveling to jewelry exhibitions while still being able to showcase on the floor.
Will customers—retailers, as is the case for jewelry shows—really shop in virtual settings, absent of the tangible aspect of in-person transactions? That’s tough to imagine at the moment, especially when you’re talking about a retailer placing orders for stock in their stores. But augmented reality has already allowed us to try on jewelry virtually, and by no means has it been perfected. With a long way to go in development, one can only imagine what virtual attendance will actually be like, but if you’re feeling optimistic, dream of how great it could be.
Imagine what this current COVID world would have been like had this technology been fully functional when the pandemic began. We could have maintained our social (and perhaps financial) lives without taking risks, both great and small.
While I’m reluctant to celebrate Facebook’s announcement, particularly in the wake of the massive controversies it’s facing, I can’t help but let my imagination rev—and get a bit excited for what could be.
What does it mean for the jewelry industry right now, in this moment? While not much will change overnight, I think it’s best that business owners stay current on the social media platforms that could help to drive sales and create connections with potential customers, even if that means going out of your comfort zones a bit. For example, if you’re used to a lot of photo-based content, consider trying to make your very first Reel on Instagram and get in on the video aspects of the platform. The more you engage with the new offerings of these social platforms and their offerings, the quicker you’ll be to pick up on its updates and future features.
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