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Is the Metaverse Killing Facebook? [Content Made Simple]
Issue #291: The best emoji, Twitter rivals, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
What a difference a year makes. Last October, Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg could barely wait to show the world what he was up to. “Today, we’re going to talk about the metaverse,” he enthused in a slick video presentation. “I want to share what we imagine is possible.” Transitioning almost seamlessly from his real self into a computer-generated avatar, Zuckerberg guided us through his vision for the virtual-reality future: playing poker in space with your buddies; sharing cool stuff; having work meetings and birthday parties with people on the other side of the world; customising your avatar (the avatars had no legs, which was weird). Zuckerberg was so all-in on the metaverse, he even rechristened his company Meta.
This month, we saw a more subdued Zuckerberg on display: “I wanna say upfront that I take full responsibility for this decision,” he told employees morosely. “This was ultimately my call and it was one of the hardest calls that I’ve had to make in the 18 years of running the company.” Meta was laying off 11,000 people – 13% of its workforce. Poor third-quarter results had seen Meta’s share price drop by 25%, wiping $80bn off the company’s value. Reality Labs, Meta’s metaverse division, had lost $3.7bn in the past three months, with worse expected to come. It wasn’t all bad news, though: Zuckerberg announced last month that Meta avatars would at last be getting legs.
This will maybe be the most interesting social media/internet story to track in 2023.
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
Which country is the largest exporter of Christmas trees?
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
Fun article! And I think the author is right!
Many emojis approved last fall came into widespread usage this year, with the new faces proving especially popular. The smiling, holding-back-tears face conveyed our most sentimental selves, while the melting face spoke to a feeling of disintegration in the face of overwhelming reality. The hand-over-mouth and peeking-through-fingers faces were perfect for moments of shock and horror.
But, in the end, no emoji was better suited for the ups and downs 2022 than the saluting face.
All of the hubbub around Twitter advertising is so funny to me because almost everyone I talk to who has advertised on Twitter in the last 5-7 years says it is pretty much worthless. But whatever people need to argue about, sure!
“Advertisers are returning or maintaining their advertising on Twitter because the platform offers unique advantages and opportunities to reach target audiences,” said Samuel McGraw, CEO of creative agency Design Hub. “Although Twitter has recently been embroiled in a series of controversies, it is still a powerful platform that offers marketers a lot of potential.”
A race is on to dethrone Twitter and capitalize on the chaos of its new ownership under Elon Musk, the tech mogul who bought the social media company for $44 billion in late October. Since then, questions have swirled about how viable Twitter might be as Mr. Musk has laid off thousands of employees, started changing the platform’s content rules and proclaimed that the company is in such dire financial shape that bankruptcy is possible.
Sensing opportunity, all manner of people and companies have jumped in to fill the potential breach. Apart from employees at Meta, former Twitter workers have begun projects for what they say could be the next Twitter. Start-ups like Post and niche services like Mastodon and Hive Social have also reared their heads, as has the microblogging platform Tumblr.
THE FUNNY PART
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Trivia Answer: Canada