A metaverse is a virtual space that is accessed using an avatar that can be used for various purposes. In it you can work, buy and sell virtual real estate, earn money by providing various services and more. But maybe no single thing you can do in the metaverse is as important as simply socializing and socializing with other people.
Last year, when former students of Harvard’s Advanced Management program (who graduated from college in 2017) met to organize this year’s gathering, they opted for a slightly different approach.
When they set out to plan a december 2021 gathering, it seemed to the students that they would fail to organize a gathering and see each other due to various complications. Primarily due to limited travel due to coronavirus. Also, a large number of former students today in busy people who have a family, which made the whole situation even more difficult.
Dissatisfied with the idea of a massive video call, Sean West, an event organizer and member of mesmerise’s advisory board, opted for something new. West decided that gathering in the metaverse could recreate a sense of live socializing and decided to organize an event in the virtual world of Mesmerise – a metaverse that was built in virtual reality. Mesmerize is a British company that specialises in organising and performing VR events.
They arranged an event with Mesmerise, and the company sent 90 Meta Quest 2 hedsets to all alumni in 28 different countries. The event began with a speech by their former professor, Ranjay Gulati, about his new book, after which everyone headed to the virtual plaza to further socialize.
West says for him, this annual gathering usually costs a lot of time, an eight-hour plane flight, a biorhythm disturbance due to jet lag and three to four days cluttered with activities. The event in the metaverse lasted about 90 minutes and no one missed work, got stuck somewhere along the way, or got COVID.
During the gathering, the people were divided into two groups of 45 people, both of whom listened to Professor Gulati’s speech separately for about 30 minutes, after which they all headed to a digital plaza where they could still socialize freely.
People could talk to each other about what was happening to them in their lives or reminisce about old school days together. They could hang out in groups or privately, one-on-one, if anyone so wanted. The duration of socializing was limited to 90 minutes to avoid getting tired. At the end of the gathering, the participants agreed to stay in touch the old way, whether it was mobile phones or the Internet, or to continue to socialize privately in the metaverse.
While the metaverse may never replace socializing alive, West believes it’s inevitable that as many people as possible start using such technology for similar purposes. Although VR technology itself still has to advance (hedsets can be difficult and in certain situations using them can cause dizziness), it is developing rapidly today. Perhaps soon the metaverse will reach a level we cannot even dream of today.