My Business Will Boycott the Metaverse. need you too

Google Glasses promises to turn us into omniscient, hyper-productive cyborgs. Segways promised to change the future of cities and transportation. In the end, they both fooled us a bit. My hope is that the Metaverse headset will play the same way.

Nearly a third of American adults say they are almost constantly connected to the Internet, We are bearing the brunt of this; Too much time online is leaving us fat, depressed, and socially disconnected.

That’s why the metaverse scares me. As a byproduct of the love of social media and virtual reality, the metaverse will only make entertainment, virtual verification, and e-scapism even worse.

Yet without advertisers, there is no metaverse. The metaverse crystallizes exactly where our society shouldn’t be. That’s why I will not advertise my products on the Metaverse, and I encourage other business owners to do the same.

On the Metaverse, users will explore the digital world with digital avatars that use digital money to buy digital clothes. Some see this as the logical evolution of the Internet, a move that will transform socialization, education and the workplace. I think of it more as a technical overshoot; Just because we can live in a digital universe doesn’t mean we should.

The metaverse is not new. game like Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox There are primitive forms of this digital world, but it has mainly been initiated by the infamous rebrand of Facebook under the name Meta.

Yet the latest Silicon Valley buzzword was actually coined nearly three decades ago by author Neil Stephenson in his science fiction novel, Snow Crash, which is set in a world where a global economic downturn has put power in the hands of a few all-powerful corporations. has left. People escape their dystopian reality by entering a digital reality – the metaverse – as a digital avatar of themselves.

Stephenson may also have been a time traveler. In Snow Crash, he describes a subculture of people permanently associated with the Metaverse, known as “gargoyles”, because of their sun-hungry appearance. This is where his prophecy fails; There is no subculture of gargoyles in America. We are one of them nation.

Twenty-eight percent of American adults said they were online “almost constantly,” up from 21 percent in 2015., according to a 2019 Pew survey. with this, 95 percent of teens now report they have a smartphone, With 45 percent of teens are saying they are online on an almost constant basis.

We know that too much time online elevates our blood pressure, and makes us more anxious, depressed and obese. Now, we also know that When children use digital communication extensively, it can reduce the face-to-face experiences they need to develop and master important social skills., as well as significantly shortens their attention span. I believe the Metaverse headset will be a smartphone based on steroids.

However, I don’t want to imagine a world where young people grow up entirely online. As a young gamer, I loved cars. But it dawned on me one day that if I ever wanted to own a real car, I’d put my nose in the grindstone. So I did; At 15, with a bicycle and backpack, I was going door-to-door building my business, Tyler’s Coffee, one customer at a time.

The Facebook logo is displayed on the iPhone’s screen in front of the Meta logo on October 29, 2021.
Chessnot/Getty Images

I’m worried about all those 15-year-olds today who can never turn off their virtual-reality headset long enough to make any tangible difference to the real world.

It is not only the gaming and big tech companies that are facilitating the metaverse but the advertisers who will be using them. In 2020, Facebook generated nearly $84.2 billion in advertising revenue, YouTube’s ad revenue is up 49 percent year over year, and generates $2 billion per month. The Metaverse will be no different. Without advertisers, there would be no metaverse.

So as advertisers, we have a lot more power than we think. In 2017, hundreds of companies including AT&T And johnson and johnson They removed their ad from YouTube when they learned that their ads were running on videos with disturbing content violent extremism And videos that appeared to put children in danger. Advertisers flex their muscles; YouTube was forced to invest in serious improvements and suffered a humiliating optical defeat.

As tech and video game companies prepare to join Meta, Microsoft and Fortnite on the meta-bandwagon, it’s time for businesses across America to decide what future we want. We don’t have to let a handful of digital overlords decide our future, we can decide it for ourselves.

That’s why I’m calling for a boycott of advertising on the metaverse. Meta-business models won’t work without attracting advertisers like me. Instead of viewing the metaverse as our inevitable fate, we should move it into the graveyard of technology’s dead ends.

Tyler Ornstein is an entrepreneur and founder of Tyler Coffee, an acid-free coffee brand,

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.