Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Image: Goal

Something has changed in Mark Zuckerberg’s communication team. From taking himself too seriously (let’s not forget that year in which he decided to travel all the states of the United States to talk to people, as if he were going to run in a presidential election) he has gone on to self-parody some of the memes that circulate about him, who are not few.

Zuckerberg started posting this kind of self-parody on his Facebook profile a few months ago, but at yesterday’s event, in which he presented his vision on the metaverse and announced the name change to Meta, we could spot four other times the Zuck laughed at himself.

Image: Goal

In one of the first shots of the presentation, Zuckerberg affirms that the metaverse is the successor of the telephone as a platform to interact with our acquaintances. In the upper right corner of the image, a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce doubles as a bookend. It is a subtle reference to a infamous live broadcast from a few years ago in which the CEO of Facebook kept saying that he was smoking meat, and that his favorite sauce for this type of occasion is Sweet Baby Ray’s. And I say “subtle” to say something because the shot lasts a minute, and the official Meta account made sure that let’s see the bottle in a post-event tweet.

Image: Goal

Many different companies will help develop Meta’s idealized metaverse, but for the company’s vision to be fulfilled, its applications will have to be interoperable. In this hypothetical future, we will be able to use the same avatar throughout the metaverse, be it a hologram that projects our image, a figure with our face that imitates our gestures … or a giant robot. “I thought the robot would be me,” Zuckerberg tells Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, who will soon be named CTO of Meta, in a virtual space that mimics a spaceship. It is a reference to the jokes recurring on the internet where Mark Zuckerberg is actually a robot.

Image: Goal

Image: Goal

At yesterday’s event, Mark Zuckerberg tried to answer the most important question to define the direction of Meta: what can be done in the metaverse? Some examples of what the company imagines: You will be able to interact with friends and co-workers, in virtual rooms that mimic an office or a surreal forest where fish fly. You can learn about astronomy, traveling to other planets in virtual reality. You can attend a live concert from the other side of the world. You can play sports with people who are not with you. And it can be played, as before.

One of the virtual reality games imagined by Meta is called Hyper Foil VR and consists of hydrofoil surfing competitions, one of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite sports. In a hypothetical situation, Zuckerberg receives a WhatsApp invitation from surfing champion Kai Lenny to play. Zuck begins the game by customizing his avatar, and a version of himself with SPF 5000 sunscreen and another with the American flag appear. The first is a reference to a viral photo of the creator of Facebook surfing in Hawaii with what appears to be a ton of sun protection. The second is a reference to his video celebrating the 4th of July, in which he appears surfing clinging to an American flag.

Did these self-parodies make Mark Zuckerberg look more human? Maybe But the new tweets and memes that emerged as a result of the event exceed any efforts of Meta’s communication team, especially when the company is trying to separate itself from the Facebook brand in the middle of a legal battle over Facebook Papers, which have returned to focus on how the social network exacerbates hate speech and misinformation while profiting by serving micro-segmented advertising to billions of users.

Some of the tweets that emerged as a result of the event:

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