Over the past year especially, there has been a whirlwind of developments and commentary about our online lives – particularly as this has become an essential outlet for businesses and brands to reach customers.
As a result, it now seems that whenever anything is mentioned around the digital world, there’s a new buzzword to boot. But what are these words, why should you care and what might they mean for brands and industries?
If you’re baffled by some of this super-futuristic lingo, you’ve come to the right place - as your Digital Social Aunty – I got your back.
If you want to sound cool in front of those social and digital natives, or you’re just keen to understand what the heck your social media manager or digital marketer is banging on about, read on!
Here are a few buzzwords that are likely to shape the digital landscape over the next decade as we grow and connect in new ways.
Meta is the new name for Facebook (the parent company, not the platform). Mark Zuckerberg said the tech giant changed its name to Meta to separate its work on new technologies from the Facebook social media platform.
According to this article by Bree McEwan (Associate Professor, Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology, University of Toronto), the new name was designed to reflect a focus beyond the Facebook social network platform, and into the metaverse — the extension of the internet into three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) spaces.
As an aside, some of the best things to come out of this recent announcement were the memes. After a string of controversies, Zucks is not the most popular person and any attempt to rebrand his global company was always going to be met with mockery. But no Meta (wink wink) what you think about the rebrand, there is no denying that the new direction this rather questionable company is taking will have an impact in the years to come.
The metaverse is having a moment. Ever since Zuckerberg announced the rebrand to Meta, the concept of the Metaverse has been a hot topic and it’s one we should all take note of.
The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection, a whole world where people will connect and interact as digital avatars. Zuckerberg describes it as ‘a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you’.
Although it will be years before we find ourselves living and connecting in this virtual world, it pays to consider how brands might show up the metaverse.
The metaverse has its roots in gaming so it is characterised by playfulness, community and value creation. Already, some brands are taking the opportunity to team up with gaming platforms like Fortnite and League of Legends to create wearable items for in-game or social experiences eg. Balenciaga partnering with Fortnite. It’s also certain to change the nature of online shopping with brands creating digital replicas of their stores to create a 3D shopping experience for customers. There will also be a huge opportunity for brands to launch products and services in fully immersive, 3D virtual venues, or to host PR events and activations in these virtual worlds.
AI and AI Influencers:
AI is short for Artificial intelligence which is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, most notably computers.
AI systems work by ingesting large amounts of data, analysing it for patterns and using these patterns to make predictions. For example, a bot can be fed examples of every romcom movie ever made and then be instructed based on this learning to create its own version of a romcom. This has become a Tiktok trend you can check out here.
An AI influencer is not a human influencer, but a computer generated and controlled virtual personality. This concept has been around since 2016 but started gaining more traction in 2018, especially in Asian markets, and will likely be a key feature in the Metaverse.
Some of them have already done campaigns for Prada or even the World Health Organisation (WHO).
AI influencers present a great opportunity for brands to create the perfect ‘person’ to represent their stories, messages and their values, along with lowering some of the risks associated with partnering with ‘real’ influencers.
As a Black Mirror fan, I am personally excited that these developments are taking me one step closer to living out my San Junipero fantasy and uploading my human consciousness to the cloud.
Tune in next time for a run down on NFT’s, avatars, crypto and other spicy digital social terms.