The tech world has been high on the metaverse since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, though the term has been around since the 90s. Following up on the growing fervor, in August, 2021, I wrote an op-ed article with Skylar Lei defining the metaverse: “What is the metaverse? 2 media and information experts explain”.
Then, in October 2021, after Facebook changed its name to Meta, the entire world suddenly began to care about the Metaverse. In those ~2 weeks following the name change, I was interviewed and quoted more in news pieces than I had been in my entire research career.
My favorite quote was published in a Washington Post article, '“When it comes to the metaverse, the headline should be ‘Haters gonna hate,’ ” said Rabindra Ratan, associate professor in...' (note: I am also quite concerned about potential dangers, but still optimistic for a net benefit to society). This five minute story from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (public radio) also covered the topic masterfully. I was also interviewed in this Metaverse story from Michigan Radio (starts at ~31:00) and in this story from WTTW News.
I was also a guest on this metaverse-related webinar with my co-editors on, "User-Avatar Bond: Risk and Opportunities in Gaming and Beyond", published in Frontiers in Psychology and Frontiers in Computer Science this year.
Perhaps the public interest in this topic will continue to grow as we march further toward our virtual futures. Or maybe it was just an otherwise slow week in the news cycle. In any case, I will still continue my research on the social and psychological effects of avatars, virtual worlds, and other metaverse-relevant technologies. Let me know if you remain interested!