Was Facebook Name Change (META) a Good Move In the Midst of Crisis?

Disrupting From Within!

Posted by: Nicky Verd Comments: 0

Recently, in a corporate event that seemed to have the vibe of a sci-fi movie, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and head of all things Facebook announce the change of name and introduced his vision for the metaverse.

Since then the internet has gone gaga. Everyone’s been talking about Meta, Facebook and the Metaverse has now become a mainstream conversation. Some people are excited, some are up in arms and some are downright confused.

Personally, I think Facebook name change is one of the best business moves and if people can get out of their feelings about Facebook scandal, perhaps they can learn a thing or two from Mr Zuckerberg.

Here’s a quick scenario:

If you were being chased by a lion, will you just stand there waiting for the lion to come and devour you or will you try to escape even if all odds are against you? And if your house was on fire, will you try to save yourself and see how much you can salvage from the fire or will you just surrender and die in the fire?

I suppose each and everyone of us will try to do something to remedy the situation, even if we end up making a really bad decision like pouring water into the fire or running toward the lion. Yet some people wanted Mark Zuckerberg to just sit in the fire and do nothing while some wanted him to just offer himself as free lunch to the lion.

As a business person, if something is going wrong in the business, it’s your responsibility as a leader to do something about the situation. Whether the problem is internal or external, a leader cannot just bury his/her head in the sand and hope for the best outcome. And that’s why Mark Zuckerberg changed his business name even in the midst of the crises they are facing.

Which has led Facebook critics to argue that by shifting focus to the rebranding of the company, Mr Zuckerberg is aiming to distract from recent controversies and there’s some truth to that. Yes, he’s trying to save his house from fire. He’s trying to redeem Facebook reputation.

However, my take on this is entirely from the business point of view, not an ethical perspective. Ethics is a topic for another day.

And so, the rebranding came when the world’s largest social media conglomerate battles these criticisms over maximizing profits, spreading hate speech, racism, dissipation, keeping users addicted and engaged for longer than necessary online and many other shady business practices.

Facebook in the midst of all this, decided to change its name from Facebook to Meta.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

To be fair, no amount of corporate rebranding should let Mr Zuckerberg off the hook for the harm Facebook is causing to society. A name change won’t fix anything. Facebook by any other name will still try to collect all your data. Nothing here is really changing.

And so, Facebook is now officially called Meta. But the App will still be called Facebook, Instagram will still be called Instagram, WhatApp will still be called WhatsApp and every other App that was under Facebook will still keep its name. Mark Zuckerberg will still be CEO, and nothing else will change.

Guess I needed to explain that because some people were already searching for the Meta App on Apps Store…lol

Well, Mark Zuckerberg has a vision and is changing the company name to reflect their vision for the future. Just like Google did something similar back in 2015. The search engine is still Google, but they changed their name and announced the umbrella company which is now called Alphabet though many still refer to Alphabet as Google.

What Mr Zuckerberg is trying to pull off is much bigger and more profound than just a name change. This is about opportunity and market domination. This is about being futuristic. He is trying to take control of what he thinks is going to be the next big wave of technology — the Metaverse!

And I think everyone with a business mindset should appreciate this move. It may seem the name change is only in response to the Facebook scandal but the plan to capitalize on the Metaverse has been in the works for years.

The Metaverse is totally part of Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the future of computing. Facebook has been doing the research for years. This is not entirely about distracting from the crisis they are facing.

Even if it were a distraction, Mark Zuckerberg is already doing a good job in distracting by acquiring companies and building those under his brand. The Facebook company which is now Meta owns WhatsApp, Oculus, Messenger, Facebook itself and Instagram.

Statistics shows, only 38% of people know that Facebook owns Instagram. Only 29% of people know that Facebook owns WhatsApp and majority of people don’t even know Facebook is now into hardware as well as Facebook bought oculus in 2014, a company that produces VR headsets. That’s to show you how far back this vision to dominate in the Metaverse has been.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Mark Zuckerberg is so smart to use a very basic name — Meta. A name that is so connected to the Metaverse. When I first heard that Facebook was planning to change its name, I thought mmhh… they’re probably going to come up with something so unique and mind-blowing and I was looking forward to it. Then on the day of the announcement, it was META…and I was like… Meta! With all the creative people you’ve got on your team and the best you could come up with is just Meta?…lol

Mark Zuckerberg is very strategic in how he names his products or services. He is very intentional about this name, Meta. He wants that whenever people think of the metaverse they’ll think of him. The Metaverse was already a thing in the gaming world but many people didn’t know about it until Mr Zuckerberg popularize the term.

Mark is a genius in how he colonizes namespace. For example, pages, groups, marketplace and messenger are just a few concepts. And whenever you hear of pages, you don’t think of yellow pages, do you? You think of Facebook pages, of course. The same goes for groups.

And now Mark Zuckerberg is doing the same with the Metaverse knowing that this is going to be an explosive new area of technology that will create a boom of new businesses and opportunities similar to the way that we saw a huge new wave of Apps arrived when the mobile internet became mainstream.
Currently, Facebook is spending millions of dollars on research and development, because so far, no one fully understands exactly what the Metaverse is all about. I don’t either.

The closest we have in describing the Metaverse are two popular games that were born during the pandemic. Fortnight and Roblox. I suppose they are other games too. These games are like an open world environment in the digital space where gamers can roam around and do whatever they want.

I know these games because I’ve been seeing my kids playing them. I have seen how immersive they can get into the game. They create their own Avatars. My son told me he can be anything he wants to be in those games. My daughter was playing Roblox one day and literally started screaming that her house caught fire and I was looking at her like, you mean you’ve got a house in there? And she responded, “yes Mami, I also got a job.” And that’s how immersive and real this is.

Well, there are mixed ideas on what the Metaverse will ultimately be, but some believe it will take the form of a persistent virtual universe where every brand, company, independent user and independent content creator are interconnected.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

In the Metaverse, your devices won’t be the focal point of your attention anymore. Imagine an Internet of apps and websites that you could actually walk inside of in 3D, much more similar to the virtual game Fortnight I just mentioned.

Well, some people are predicting the Metaverse might just end up being kind of like a Zoom Conference Call but with better graphics. I think it’d be way better than that. Well, nobody really knows for sure. This is still evolving.

Computers and mobile phone will have to become a lot stronger and internet data will have to become a lot faster before we can fully experience the Metaverse.

Mark Zuckerberg has come a long way. Looking back at his history of how he built Facebook to what it is now is pretty inspiring. His products may not be perfect but that doesn’t discredit him as one of the great minds of our time. Though he didn’t build or develop all his products except Facebook. The rest of his products, he buys and then scales.

However, he cannot buy the Metaverse because it doesn’t even exist yet and it’s impossible for anyone one company to buy the Metaverse anyway. One company will not represent the metaverse, just like one company doesn’t represent the internet

So, what mark Zuckerberg wants to do is to be one of the companies pioneering this new ecosystem. Though it seems he might be late for this party as they are gaming companies that seem to be ahead of him already. However, he has an advantage, currently dominating the social media market, he has the numbers, the money and talent. Facebook plans to hire 10,000 highly specialized engineers in Europe to work on their Metaverse.

Facebook bought Oculus back in 2014 as part of this vision and has been trying to buy several other companies in the Metaverse space including Unity, which is a game development engine helping companies build products for the Metaverse.

The internet took off with laptops and the mobile internet took off with smart phones and the Metaverse is taking off with gaming consoles and this will evolve into VR headsets, AR headsets, bodysuits, VR glasses and probably devices we don’t yet know about.

And that’s why Mark Zuckerberg is getting into the hardware side of things.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

However, this doesn’t mean the Metaverse is going to be any safer for us users. So, we need to be careful about what data we give away and make sure that we always keep the protection of what matters most to us, not only our data but our social relationships as well. Don’t allow yourself to be swallowed by new technologies.

Businesses will always do what businesses do to make money but you do what humans do to stay human. Businesses don’t really care about us or our mental health or our personal relationships. You are the one responsible for your mental health and personal relationships.

Instead of complaining about how the Metaverse is going to destroy human relationships and social interactions, you as an individual should be focusing on how you can become a better human being in the age of avatars and robots.

Don’t be mad at Facebook for their business decision to make the Metaverse a reality but focus on how you are going to protect your data. This is going to fundamentality change how business is conducted. Its also going to impact the future of work. 

So, focus on studying how the Metaverse is going to impact your life, job or business. Focus on what the opportunities in the Metaverse might be. You cannot control technological advancement. You cannot control what tech giants do but you can control how their inventions and innovations impact you as an individual.

Check out my book “Disrupt Yourself Or Be Disrupted”

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