In the metaverse, anything goes. You are free to express yourself in ways that, in the real world, might be physically impossible or make you feel socially uncomfortable. In the metaverse, you can fly or role play, for instance, but you also can express different gender identities, experiment with personal style, or eavesdrop from safe mode. Then, like an Etch-a-Sketch, you can clean the slate and start fresh with a new persona. The metaverse is very liberating in that way.
Despite the do-over nature of simulated worlds, rules of good social conduct should be observed in public areas to retain a level of order that allows ALL players to feel safe, enjoy themselves, and be productive. Furthermore, minors are everywhere in the metaverse, so if you want to let your freak flag fly, it's conscientious to do so in a private, secure place. In this brave new world, what new cultures arise from virtual interactions remains to be seen. It could be utopian or dystopian. Whatever comes to fruition is up to us. In the meantime, let's explore some things not to do in the metaverse, especially if you're there for non-gaming reasons.
Don't be shy
Let's start on a positive note. The flexibility that allows you to be a businessperson one day and a giant pink bunny the next also makes trying things that might be embarrassing in the real world much easier. Childlike experimentation is encouraged. Sing your heart out in front of an audience, try stand-up comedy, or battle royal to the death. There is no need to be shy when your identity is completely fluid in simulations.
Behavior that isn't tolerated IRL should be taken elsewhere
Battle royal or not, it should be evident that kindness and courtesy will make the metaverse inclusive and welcoming to everyone. Shaming, exclusion, insults, divisiveness, and aggression can be directed at non-player characters in games if giving vent to your shadow side is what you need to do. Even if you've just finished a killing spree in a virtual reality game, excellent social skills are called for in public areas where real people with real feelings communicate through their avatars.
No hate speech
It might be easier to speak your mind in the metaverse, but making others feel unsafe or discriminated against is never acceptable. Abusive, derisive, or threatening speech against those who belong to a race, religion, physicality, or sexuality that is different from your own is harmful to everyone. Both perpetrators and targets suffer.
Don't exclude newbies
Bullies, go home. It might be tempting to tease someone who has never been in the metaverse before. Sure, newbies run into walls and ask odd questions. We've all been there. Excluding someone who isn't experienced prevents those who benefit most from enjoying virtual worlds from not feeling welcomed. Encourage and assist anyone who asks for or needs help. Diversity in the people who feel comfortable spending time and creating in the metaverse is a win for the world.
Fake news is everywhere. Misinformation is partly intentional or due to the relaxed rules of journalism, but it primarily stems from the immense demand for new and constant content. There is no solution, but you can make an effort not to be part of the problem. Cite your sources. Don't practice to deceive. Fact check when you can. Our responsibility is to free the metaverse from poor-quality information.
Respect intellectual property
Like the books, art, and music that existed before the virtual era, we need to understand the amount of time and effort creators put into making things for us all to enjoy. As the metaverse expands and cross-platform interoperability increases, the opportunity to steal virtual assets or plagiarize content will grow. The blockchain and inherent security in the metaverse will help dissuade intellectual property thieves, but copyright infringement is still possible. Do not reuse or copy content that you do not have permission to use.
The cloud of anonymity in the metaverse might tempt some to be disingenuous in their communications. Some might do this for fun, others to test the reactions and behaviors of different target markets. Regardless of the reasons, this type of false interaction is equal to lying. No justification makes it right.
Don't hack or impersonate
Similar to intellectual property, it is possible to appropriate someone's avatar to use it for personal gain or harm. It goes without saying, but don't impersonate celebrities or use an avatar that doesn't belong to you for promotional or even slanderous purposes. Again, this is harder to do in the metaverse than on the legacy internet, but don't fool yourself into thinking it's impossible. To protect your online identity, practice impeccable password protection and don't load unidentified or questionable apps
No spammy promotion
We, as businesspeople, should strive to elevate commerce through the medium of the metaverse. Again, let's not repeat the heyday of overwhelming popups, endless telemarketing, and web pages riddled with flashing junk ads. The metaverse gives us a chance to make marketing and advertising golden again. Aim to create highly targeted, opted-in, and thoroughly immersive branding and marketing experiences.
Don't stop taking care of your body
Last, and more importantly, take care of yourself. As VR hardware sophistication exponentially advances, it will become more and more comfortable to spend large amounts of time in the metaverse. There is a danger that we will neglect our bodies, especially when we can represent ourselves in any way we wish through increasingly realistic avatars. A sedentary life could spell disaster if we are not careful to exercise, eat well, enjoy nature, and interact with friends and family face to face. Don't be fooled; the days when we can practically live in the virtual world are close at hand. Now is the time to set a precedent for a healthy balance between the physical and virtual.
The implications of the metaverse are numerous. Our growing ability to work, learn, travel, and socialize from the comfort of an armchair can reduce the carbon footprint of daily human behavior to a negligible amount. Furthermore, the metaverse can eliminate borders, both physical and mental. We can foster a new time of inclusiveness, expression, respect, and enjoyment. Together, we have the opportunity to shape a future of equality and sustainability.
SliiceXR is the first global metaverse marketing agency. Our developers and content creators team can make your metaverse dreams come true ethically and artistically. We will build crystal clear messaging that resonates with your audience in and outside the metaverse. Don't go it alone—partner with us and claim your slice of the metaverse today.