You may have heard the news: just last month, Facebook changed the name of its  umbrella company to Meta to publicly announce its new focus on the metaverse. This news sparked many conversations about how the emergence of virtual reality (VR) will change the future of media. 

As budding public relations professionals, we are all very familiar with Facebook and Instagram, which are social media platforms under Meta. These are the tools we have used as a platform for many campaigns. However, the emergence of the metaverse and VR present a new and exciting opportunity: an entirely new digital space that is available for PR professionals to utilize. Plus, if Meta cares about VR and the metaverse, it’s safe to assume that we should too. So, let’s have a high-level, low-stress chat about what the metaverse is, why it matters to the PR industry, and what relevant happenings you might have already missed.

What is the metaverse?

According to Wikipedia, “The metaverse is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets.” In layman’s terms, the metaverse is the digital platform for VR and augmented reality (AR), accessible by the technology that supports it. Right now, the metaverse is a widely unexplored platform, but new users are taking it upon themselves to start discovering its capabilities.

Already, there is a new public focus on VR and the metaverse. The audience for the digital universe has expanded with the popularization of cryptocurrency, Non Fungible Tokens (NFT’s), and the quickly progressing technology around VR (think headsets). If you are trying to get the attention of the tech-savvy, it’s time to learn about the metaverse.

Why does it matter?

The emergence of the metaverse changes the game. This platform drastically widens the scope of which we are able to digitally interact with media, each other, our audiences, our favorite brands; the list goes on! With the metaverse, previously impossible tactics become possible. As we enter into this new era of technology, we must consider the benefits that VR may have to offer in the PR industry, such as the ability to connect with audiences anywhere, utilize innovative technology to get a leg up on your client’s competitors, revolutionize your storytelling abilities, and much more.

What have I missed?

The metaverse is already here, and if you haven’t been paying attention, there is a ton to catch up on. Here are just a few of the relevant things happening right now:

We are in the beginning stages of finding how VR will change the way we do PR. Keep an eye out for new ideas and trends as they emerge they might be coming faster than you think!

Here goes nothing

I do not pretend to fully understand the metaverse and how its implications on the PR industry will play out in the future. I am sure that I am not the only one who had feelings of uncertainty and skepticism at first. However, I am realizing that as a young professional starting my career in the PR industry, it is important to approach this new shift with curiosity and excitement.

I imagine that what is already happening is just the first glimpse of what can be accomplished with VR in the PR industry, and I am preparing myself to take this on as a challenge. Who knows, you may soon find yourself figuring out how you will be incorporating VR into your next campaign!

About the Author:

Jesse Schmitt is the current CEO of GrandPR and will be graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising & Public Relations and a minor in Studio Art. Jesse is currently working as a Sales Resource Development Intern with Steelcase Applied Research + Consulting. Jesse is proud to say that this is her third year as a member of GVPRSSA, and through her position she hopes to continue to make the chapter an inclusive, inspiring, and evolving environment for students to come.