Explainer: What is the Metaverse?

[Editor’s Note: Even experienced PR and communication professionals need a periodic refresher on the basics or insight about new material. As PRNEWS offers readers such content, our Explainer series was born.]

Previous posts discussed Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), bounce rates, "off the record," and NIL (name/image/likeness).

Here we offer an explainer about the metaverse.]

What is the Metaverse?

There is no one definition of it. Instead, the metaverse is an idea based on how humans can interact in a digitally immersive world. Think of the metaverse as where the virtual and physical worlds meet. The next iteration of the internet, Web3, is its power source. As in video games, people can choose avatars as their metaverse representatives.

In 2021, Facebook outlined its vision of the metaverse, going all-in and changing its name to Meta. This fueled speculation and experimentation. Several PR firms have launched metaverse practices, and some companies, especially those with younger audiences, already are staking claims in the virtual world.

On the other hand, with massive layoffs and other issues at Meta, it is uncertain how quickly the metaverse's major proponent will act and whether brands will play a major role in its conception.

Why It Matters to Communicators

Still, PR pros always should look ahead. As Nicole Rodrigues writes, communicators and PR pros must prepare for technologies that could influence markets. Just as social media fueled a shift in communication tactics during the last decade, the metaverse could create challenges and opportunities for companies and PR professionals.

In a post on PRSay, Joshua Smith, director of communications at Virginia Commonwealth University, writes the metaverse could be a next step for paid, earned, owned and shared media. "Some communicators label traditional outlets, such as newspapers, magazines and TV, as passé legacy media, but the next generation of PR pros might define legacy as anything outside the metaverse."

Metaverse opportunities for companies and PR pros may include:

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. Innovations occur daily.

More PRNEWS Resources on the Metaverse

The Metaverse isn’t a Certainty, but Certainly PR Pros Should Explore It

Avoiding Metaverse Mayhem: Regulating Virtual Influencers as Nearly Human

Virtual Influencers Offer Advantages, but They’re Not Plug ‘n’ Play

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