We must act as advocates for our audiences, ensuring their inalienable rights are honored and respected in these new digital spaces.
We all have a part to play in the making of the metaverse. In its purest form, the metaverse will be a virtual playground of interconnected digital worlds where we can connect, work, play, build and live.
How our digital lives are shaped in the future hinges on the decisions we are making right now, at this moment. We all need to pay close attention to the assumptions, beliefs, judgments and biases we hold when we consider our digital selves and the digital lives of others.
The online world is not separate from the physical world. Our experiences with the aid of technology impact our psyche in the same way as those that require no technology at all.
As we get closer to building a digital universe, it’s time to pause and reflect on the world we have the potential to build. It’s time to forget what we know, the duality of two worlds — virtual and real — and focus on one enhanced world where technology and nature co-exist.
Building a metaverse that is sustainable for both our planet and our species is not going to be an easy task. It will require radical changes in how we think, feel and behave. It will require radical changes in how we work, communicate and measure value. It will require a new language spoken by pioneers, visionaries and change-makers that are brave enough to face their discomfort and the discomfort of others.
Change on this level is never easy, and we all need to wake up from our trance of self-involvement and embrace our fears, worries and anxieties, transforming them into wisdom, love and courage.
A framework for building the metaverse
Whether you are a corporate leader, manager, creator, mentor, or student — you have a voice in how the digital universe will unfold. We all are responsible for paying attention, taking action, and advocating for a digital world that allows for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
As a profession, communications and marketing teams owe a responsibility to the public they serve. We must act as advocates for our audiences, ensuring their inalienable rights are honored and respected in these new digital spaces.
We need to shed our old ways of thinking and be open to the new possibilities that these immersive worlds provide. We have been given a powerful set of tools. Are we ready to make the best use of them?
This manifesto provides a framework for building the metaverse. Each of the three pillars can be applied to how you approach your life and work now. Whether you are responsible for building a metaverse of many or are navigating solo, we each have an essential part to play.
1. Citizens, not consumers
- The metaverse will be comprised of citizens entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
- Citizens are entitled to contribute to the making of the rules and regulations that govern the community.
- Citizens are entitled to protection from a governing body and are granted the rights and privileges of free people.
Calling on the citizen and not the consumer is nothing new. Jonah Sachs has been championing this movement with “empowerment marketing.” This way of thinking is a radical departure from the traditional advertising model. No longer can we treat users like mindless sheep, building experiences based upon company-centric calls to action (or any CTA, for that matter!).
Empowering your audience to have a say in your work is possible now. No longer can we be mindless sheep, unaware of the digital currency we are giving away to companies who don’t align with our values. Every click, pageview and digital move we make contributes to someone’s bottom line, and it’s our job to educate ourselves and be informed citizens in this new economy.
2. Make meaning not money
- The metaverse will enable citizens to make meaningful connections with the community and each other.
- The metaverse will support a free exchange of ideas and provide citizens with tools to express their views while offering protection against abuse and harm.
- The metaverse will enact rules and regulations ensuring all citizens’ protection.
We are all striving for an open and welcoming metaverse, and requires a shift away from the walled gardens that exist today. There is a place for private business within the metaverse, just as there’s a place for your local grocery store or Best Buy.
The metaverse will provide the structure for private businesses to thrive while not limiting access to only those who are shopping. There need to be free and open spaces where anyone can make meaningful connections, express themselves and not be viewed as a commodity.
3. Provide access to all
- The metaverse will allow anyone access and not limit participation to the privileged few.
- The metaverse will provide citizens the tools to easily build the world around them and the freedom to pursue what makes them happy.
- The metaverse will not censor, judge, or impose biases upon citizens but instead, encourage and support all voices and perspectives.
A thoughtful approach is required to ensure a diverse population can access the tools to build the metaverse. Companies investing in this space need to consider how easy or hard it is to create shared spaces.
Just as platforms such as WordPress and Wix have democratized the creation of websites, so will there be platforms that democratize building 3D worlds. Investing in open-source solutions will play a vital role in an accessible and inclusive metaverse.
Our role in shaping the digital universe
We are on the precipice of a defining moment for our profession and the world at large. Your thoughts, words, and actions matter now more than ever. Take the time to pause and reflect on how you want to show up in the world, the values you want to champion and the role you want to play in shaping our digital universe.
- How will you interact with these powerful tools?
- How will you be an informed digital citizen?
- How will you honor the publics you are responsible for?
- How are your beliefs, judgments and words limiting the potential of what the metaverse can become?
- What small changes can you enact today to help make tomorrow’s metaverse?