Exploring VRChat with Friends

This afternoon, Jin on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server suggested we meet up in VRChat and do a group tour of several worlds. We started off in the Winter Ball, a ghostly grand ballroom with a roaring fireplace, Christmas music, and a huge frosty tree:

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Winter Ball

From there, we visited the following worlds, which were recommended as cool places to visit by various people present:

  • Virtual Market 2018 Summer
  • Sakura Hiroba (a charming Japanese courtyard with cherry blossom trees)
  • Twin Spire Village
  • Hikori: Christmas LightUp
  • Treehouse in the Shade: Xmas Update
  • Fractal Explorer by 1001
  • A Trip (where you walk right through the wall of an ordinary room into a trip!)
  • Club VGL
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Twin Spire Village
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Hikori: Christmas LightUp

It was great fun! I reminded me a bit of our Atlas Hopping adventures in Sansar, but this was all taking place in VRChat. The great thing about the RyanSchultz.com Discord is that it is now very easy to organize a group of people to go out and do things like this with fellow social VR enthusiasts. Here’s a picture of us at our final stop, Club VGL:

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(It’s a little hard to see us all because the club is dimly lit; I’m the blue robot on the left.)

Thanks to Jin for organizIng, and to all the other people who were there (Carl Fravel, etc.) who recommended places to visit!

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Weaning Myself Off Facebook

Well, my iPhone tells me that my screen time has dropped significantly:

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss Facebook. I do. I miss the Virtual Reality group and all the Second Life groups, especially Second Life Friends, which was always good for a debate or a chuckle. And I know that there are certain acquaintances whom I will lose touch with. Hardly any of my former Facebook friends followed me over to the #facebook-friends channel I set up on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server.

But I remain steadfast in my decision to quit Facebook. The company has allowed some morally dodgy things to be done on its social network, and I refuse to continue to passively support Facebook by staying a part of it. I’m only one person, but if enough other people get similarly fed up and decide to leave, maybe the company will make more ethical decisions. But I doubt it.

Mark Zuckerberg and his team have been so focused on aggressive growth that they’ve blinded themselves to what a threat to society Facebook has become. No one company should have so much power. No company deserves so much power.

The only possible problem my decision may cause in future is if/when Facebook launches a new social VR platform which requires a Facebook account to access, like Facebook Spaces. It’s still theoretically possible that Facebook could launch a new product (or strike a partnership with an existing metaverse company). My worst nightmare would be Facebook buying up High Fidelity, VRChat or even Linden Lab.

One way to fight back against the Facebook juggernaut is to do what I have done: create my own personalized communities using tools like WordPress and Discord. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the over 2 billion people on Facebook. But it’s a start. I’d like to think that I am reclaiming a small part of my personal freedom.