The metaverse news is falling fast and furious lately, but first…another one of Auntie Ryan’s patented snarky, bitchy, and sarcastic editorial blogposts! (Priorities, people!)
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, I have gone down some pretty weird and obscure rabbit-holes lately. Among them, I have developed a recent fascination with toxic influencer culture: those men and women who become popular on social media, but sooner or later cause controversies, scandals, and scams, in some cases incinerating their “influencer” status and losing millions of followers.
(If you’re interested in this topic, I can recommend two YouTube channels to watch: Smokey Glow and Cruel World Happy Mind, both of which provide excellent summaries and commentary on what’s going down in the world of problematic influencers. They’re my current guilty pleasure!)
Well, I guess it was time that somebody linked the words “influencer” and “metaverse” to create that hybrid monster: the metafluencer!
My target today is a truly cringeworthy article from CoinTelegraph, first brought to my attention on Twitter by Tony Vitillo (a.k.a. SkarredGhost), an Italian man whose blog, The Ghost Howls, often has virtual reality product reviews and weekly news round-ups about the VR/AR/MR/XR industry and the metaverse. Here’s the tweet:
Now, this is not the first time I have taken CoinTelegraph to task for their reporting (here’s the first time, if you’re interested, complete with a mind-bogglingly tone-deaf illustration). But this time, they’ve truly outdone themselves!
The article starts off reasonably enough:
As it is currently positioned, the metaverse will hold the potential to give creators a whole new aspect of interaction and communication as they gain new opportunities to work with other creators and reach new audiences. For creators, the question now becomes not if they will shift to the metaverse, but when will they do so. After all, nobody wants to be the business still figuring out Instagram Reels while the world moves on to the metaverse.
But it turns out that Metafluence is actually the name of a proposed metaverse platform for influencers! Check this part out:
A city where influencers rule
The Metafluence platform is currently being incubated by the venture capital firm specializing in blockchain technology, Master Ventures. This engagement is set to continue over the next two years and is among a number of other partnerships the team has under their belt.
With a shared goal, the name Metafluence will come to represent the name of a single city in the metaverse, one that social media influencers will control. The city itself will comprise influencer homes, also known as Metahuts, which can be customized based on the influencers’ choice. Custom spaces will provide an added opportunity for influencers to better monetize their audience and continue engaging closer with brands.
Additionally, these huts can act as a storefront for influencers to share their digital artwork and other NFTs, providing new monetization and engagement opportunities. Influencers may also choose to come together in Metaclans as they collaborate for maximized reach and other strategic collaborations or participate in public and private virtual events.
Metafluence? Metaclans? METAHUTS?!?? Excuse me while I metavomit… 🤮
And, lo and behold, like so many blockchain-based metaverse projects that are essentially just a white paper at this point, there’s a Metafluence website!
WE ARE CREATING THE FIRST METAPRENEURS
We are on a mission to convert Social Media Influencers into Metaverse entrepreneurs through our influence-to-earn platform by enhancing their relations with audiences and brands. Our solutions for influencers automatically address advertiser and audience challenges, enabling brands to organically grow and thrive in web 3.0.
Metapreneurs? Yet another Frankenstein meta-buzzword??!? Oy gevalt!
There’s also the requisite Discord and Telegram channels (oh, why is Telegram so popular for these kinds of blockchain/crypto projects?). Oh, yes, I forgot to mention: there’s also a cryptocurrency called $METO, along with a bunch of promised future features (including decor and upgrades for your Metahut!):
O.K., I am officially metaover this metaproject with all its unnecessary metabuzzwords, jumping on the metabandwagon. I’m not even going to bother including it in my list of social VR and virtual worlds because (as far as I can tell) it’s essentially vapourware at this point in its existence. Meh. If they actually do launch something, maybe I’ll circle back and write about it more then. Until then, I will safely watch from the sidelines.
This project reminds me of nothing so much as the truly disastrous Staramba Spaces/MATERIA.ONE project, which at the time had brought aboard celebrity influencers like Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan (you can read all my blogposts about that particular fiasco here). The people who invested in MATERIA.ONE never got anything back from their investments, so this is time for me to once again issue my standard warning for such projects:
Please, for the love of God, do EVERY. SINGLE. SCRAP. of your research before investing a penny in any blockchain/cryptocurrency/NFT project! Don’t be swayed by a white paper full of statistics, projections and promises, a Discord or Telegram full of cryptocurrency bros, and a slick-looking website! You will need to do YOUR OWN due diligence. Caveat emptor!
Thank you to Tony Vitillo for the heads up!