There is an old expression that says, ‘it is easier to invent the future than to predict it’.
Mark Zuckerberg appears about to prove this aphorism false.
After pouring tens of billions into the Metaverse and pivoting the once phenomenally successful Facebook to the world of Meta, no one attempted to invent the future more than Mark Zuckerberg. And now the results are in – it is an unmitigated disaster.
The graphics are appalling – the avatars don’t even have legs. The hang-out places are empty. Hardly anyone goes there at all, and when they do, the conversations are limited to ‘what’s up?’ The Metaverse, it turns out, is a dead zone. And last week, the market’s gave their verdict at Meta, the parent company of Facebook shed and astonishing $700 billion in value.
The Wall Street Journal recently referred to the Metaverse as a “sad and empty place.”
So if the Metaverse is not the future of media, what is?
My all time favorite quote is from Andy Grove, the former Chairman and CEO of Intel. Grove said, “listen to the technology. The technology will tell you what to do.”
So, if we listen to the technology, (as opposed to listening to Mark Zuckerberg), what is the technology telling us?
It is telling us three things:
People now spend 8 hours a day, every day, watching TV, movies or videos. This is now the predominant means of communication in the world. The average person spends just 19 minutes a day reading. Text is dead. Video is addictive. People are not living in the Metaverse, they are living in what we might call the Mediaverse.
So who gets to decide what we will all be seeing – the things that shape our views of the world? Up until now, the Mediaverse has been dominated by a very few, very powerful companies – they decide what we will see and what we will hear about and know. The reason for this is twofold – first, creating content was very complicated and expensive, and second, once the content was created, getting it into people’s homes was equally complicated and expensive – you had to own a broadcast network or a cable channel. That was a barrier to entry.
The arrival of the iPhone – that shoots, edits and delivers broadcast quality video, and the arrival of broadband that puts video into your home (Netflix, after all, is actually just a giant website), means that now ANYONE can produce content on their own or as a group. If you own a smart phone, you have the same power as CNN.
This is an enormous, almost unthinkable change.
It is going to completely re-structure and re-define the entire media universe.
The primary and fundamental change we are going to see is the flow of content. Up until now, since the invention of the printing press, and even before, content has been made by the very few and then distributed to the very many either by newspaper, magazine, movie studio, TV network or even stone tablet – if you want to go back that far. We make it, you consume it.
Now, if we listen to the technology, the old world of media is going to be turned on its head. Now, it is going to be a world of we make it and we share it.
This is particularly important when it comes to the world of news and information, because it is on that basis that we make so many critical decisions. Up until now, news and information have also been highly controlled by a very few who decide what we will see and learn, and more importantly, what we will not see and learn about.
All of this is going to change – not because Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk decide it will be so – it is going to change because the technology already in our hands makes this change inevitable.
This is where UnPress comes in. UnPress is going to train a generation of millions of journalists and storytellers – give them a platform upon which to share their stories and news – and create a pathway for them to earn a real living doing it.
That’s the future – the Mediaverse, not the Metaverse.
Copyright Rosenblumtv 2022