I am not part of the cult of social media personality; I have never been. I do not really know how Facebook, Instagram, etc., work nor have I ever wanted to. And I am truly blind to why Facebook is switching its name to Meta and what that word even means (as well as what the hell “Metaverse” means). But as I have too often seen in the insidious recent rush of technology, I fear there might be some infiltration of that which I do not know nor engage in to my business of scribbling naughty little words across papyrus with my stylus under candlelight.
I’m not a Luddite, but I do grow a bit squirrely round the edges now in my 6th decade with anything that seems to have the potential to create ever more divisions between folks. My great friend, podcast co-host, and a writer you should be reading right now (and contributor as well to this wonderful sexpert-a-verse), M. Christian, is the futurist I go to when I come up against the world changing in ways I do not understand. Asking him about the conversion of Facebook to Meta and what meta is in general, Chris pretty much reiterated what I thought I knew in that there are folks who enjoy an online experience, no matter what it is they are experiencing, as much or more so than they do going out and about in the world to experience whatever it is they like to experience. What Chris warned, and something we have all come to see for sure, is if one immerses oneself with one population, one news source, one religion, one whatever-it-is, then one can get rather indoctrinated in one set way of looking at things. I don’t care where you come down politically (or if you are like me, you don’t come down politically at all) or what your belief system is; I agree with Chris, one can all too easily spin down a rabbit hole one might never see oneself free from the more one goes looking for that damn rabbit.
In the ‘new’ Meta world that Mark Zuckerberg seems to be morphing his old Facebook into, it seems folks who like to be online will be able to dive even deeper online. The question then becomes, if being online is so rewarding, easy to facilitate, and keeps us inside where we already want to stay anyway (pandemic or not), why would those predisposed to being online ever want to interact with the non-online world? And extrapolating from this—and for my private bread and butter—I wonder if anyone in the Meta world or even tickling into it from time to time will want to read my naughty little stories, or any stories in general. Will what Chris and I labor at and many more writers like us try to make their living from being soon regarded as an antiquated static resource, not at all interesting to the generation living solely online?
In a world where you can set your avatar to any appearance (and well protect your actual appearance in the process), speak a language you don’t normally but can easily translate, buy goods and services from an exchange of something other than the coin of the realm, and never leave your Barcalounger when doing all of this, the digital world you could come to live can all too quickly become one of your own making.
Will anybody want the fictions or anyone else’s makings if one is Meta?