If you use Facebook or stay up to date on where social media is heading, you have likely heard about the metaverse. Experts describe it as a network of virtual worlds focused on social interaction. Some say it is where you bring your avatar to life and create a “new you” in augmented reality.
I am intentionally being very broad in this description as there is much more to it than I can cover in this format. I expect it will offer many other productive uses and applications. However, my point in sharing is that this is another place for people to try to be something else and live alternative lives.
Social media can be great for catching up with old friends, sharing family news and many other things. But we also know it is a major source of distraction, anxiety, and pain for some people. Too many people are trying to pretend to be the person they want others to think they are versus who they really are.
Researchers are already highlighting the new social problems the metaverse will likely bring as people go further in detaching from the real world. Major media companies like Facebook want to build and control this virtual world but few people talk about the dark side of where this could go.
There is already too much time and addiction associated with social media. We see inflamed and polarized views creating anger and depression issues. We see bullying, body shaming and people pretending to be someone else. The multiple hours spent on social media today will likely become more addictive as people live in these virtual worlds. Creating a wardrobe, career, home, and lifestyle for your virtual self will only add to the challenges of what those look like in real life.
My point is not to simply lament the future but to ask how we will each use the next frontier of technology for good. Too often the church is slow to adapt to new technology and then frequently wonders how to create a “Christian version” of it. We never get to share Jesus with those that most need Him when we build walls around all we do. Need Him has always shared Jesus with people looking to become “something new”. Now we simply have another platform to meet the lost with the one source of hope for a truly new and transformed life. Join us in prayer as we consider how to be involved in the future metaverse to reach the hurting and broken.