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Meta narrative: Facebook by any other name

A fashionable self-referencing nuance, very self-aware, an uber neo act of futuristic navel gazing, yes, but Meta also shouts down the chorus of ‘But, Mark…’

October 29, 2021 / 12:38 PM IST
(Representative image)

(Representative image)

It is not just us, the maker of Facebook himself has grown bored of it. In what is seen as the biggest social media climbing event of this era, Mark Zuckerberg, sci fi fan and Facebook CEO, is rebranding the firm as Meta, hurtling us into a galaxy far, far away. The universe must now rebrand itself as metaverse.

‘The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world. It will let you share immersive experiences with other people even when you can’t be together—and do things together you couldn’t do in the physical world. It’s the next evolution in a long line of social technologies, and it’s ushering in a new chapter for our company,’ we are told tenderly by them.

With the stock ticker changing soon to MVRS from FB, here is the latest toy in their virtual shop window. Of course, everyone is busy Googling ‘meta’, which is no longer Greek to us in that it really is Greek for ‘beyond’, ‘after’ and ‘behind’. A fashionable self-referencing nuance, very self-aware, an uber neo act of futuristic navel gazing, yes, but Meta also shouts down the chorus of ‘But, Mark…’ on so many discomfiting newly revealed aspects of Facebook.

The Internet Interpol is here to take whatever secrets we have still left to give away. We had already leaked our location, holiday spots and residential plans in the near term. Now we pull out empty pockets and wonder what is there left to loot and plunder from us—but there are the dreams in our eye sockets, loose change on the windowsill, diary entries yet to be made. Are we trading the relatively small theft of our current realities for an electronic ecosystem where the housekeepers will be inside our home? Do we really need an invisible spy under the quilt with us, breathing in as we breathe out? No lock can keep them out.

My old earphones are now ready for the trashcan; new virtual-reality headsets will soon be here. If zoom was an intrusion into my private moments—imagine the frantic check to straighten hair, clothes, expression, background—now holograms of people I am just being polite to will fill up my drawing room.

Mark is nothing but an ageist—just when I squint at the keyboard and gingerly press this or that button, praying to all the web gods that I am doing the right thing—he picks up my computer and phone and throws them into the future, calling out ‘fetch’! This is getting personal.

Only time will tell if Meta is Facebook part 2 or an invasion and addiction of another ilk altogether. So let’s not get all hasty and judgemental, okay? The DNA may be the same but this may not be a reincarnation. We don’t want to do what the villagers did to a young Amitabh Bachchan in Deewar—inking on Meta’s wrist: mera baap chor hei.

Also read: Facebook name change - "FAANG is now MANGA": Jokes, memes unleashed as Facebook becomes Meta

Shinie Antony is a writer and editor based in Bangalore. Her books include The Girl Who Couldn't Love, Barefoot and Pregnant, Planet Polygamous, and the anthologies Why We Don’t Talk, An Unsuitable Woman, Boo. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia Prize for her story A Dog’s Death in 2003, she is the co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.