Mark Zuckerberg sure knows how to make me happy. I’m giddy, actually, that he wants us to call Facebook “Meta” from now on. He wants to brand the social media platform formerly known as Facebook as being poised to break out of the old social media mode into the new coming metaverse. There we will all have avatars that we can use to walk and teleport around in internet space, visiting virtual rooms that we will all design and decorate. With apps, I presume.
I know I’m not going to design a virtual room in a metaverse any time soon.
I have a life.
But sure, I’ll teleport to somebody’s virtual room if I get an invitation. Then when they say there’s a cover charge, I’ll teleport right back home.
The coolest thing about the metaverse vision is we’ll all get to pick out our avatars. There’ll probably be charges for them, too. Hopefully, the companies marketing them won’t get too greedy. Cartoon characters shouldn’t cost too much. I wouldn’t really mind being Elmer Fudd. Bugs Bunny would probably be out of my price range, but I’d bet Elmer Fudd would be very affordable.
Live action avatars: Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry would cost a lot. William Shatner as T.J. Hooker, not nearly so much. Not that there’s anything wrong with being T.J. Hooker, or anything right with being Dirty Harry. I’m just trying to anticipate the market.
And that’s what this is all about. The technology to make “Meta” live up to its new name is going to cost money and there’s going to have to be new ways to pay for it. Watch out for low-hanging ads in those virtual rooms. Don’t bump your virtual head on them.
If your avatar inadvertently steps on an ad on the virtual floor it could charge your credit card or PayPal for a year’s supply of adult diapers. Be alert, be safe.
There’s been a lot of talk on the internet about “brand defiance.” How’s Zuckerberg going to make us all switch from calling it Facebook and call it Meta instead? Is he going to spy on us and close our accounts if we refuse to change? What if we call it something else he doesn’t like. How about I call it ZuckFace?
Speaking of defiance, here’s a developing story in New York City that grates on my nerves.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has mandated that all fire, police and sanitation department workers be fully vaccinated by this week. There’s been defiance of the mandates, with workers threatening to show up for work without proof of vaccination.
According to a story in the New York Times, the president of a firefighters union has said he has instructed all his members — vaccinated or not — to come to work this week in hopes of demonstrating that if any are turned away, the possible loss of life caused by understaffing would be on the mayor’s head.
Please bear with me while I engage in a brief rant. It won’t take long.
Right. They’re the victims. Because the mayor wants them to get vaccinated to protect the public, they will have no choice but to walk away from their jobs and endanger the public, and it will be the mayor’s fault for not wanting them to endanger the public. What idiocy.
This is the best thing that could happen in all our cities. We’ve never been able to come up with a way to test whether a candidate for public service really is qualified to serve the public and keep the public safe. Here’s your litmus test. Won’t get vaccinated? Go. We’ll hire someone who will.
If this union president can’t figure out that it isn’t the mayor’s fault that his rank and file don’t care enough about the health of people they encounter in their jobs, then he isn’t smart enough to do his own job either.
Many of the public have compromised immune systems. When an unvaccinated firefighter has to deal with such people in his work, they’re putting them at serious risk. Firefighters are supposed to care about the health of the public. If they don’t, they literally aren’t doing their jobs.
The rant is over. I hope no one got hit by any flying spittle.
Maybe I should pick Donald Duck as my avatar.
Dr. Wes is the Real Change Circulation Specialist, but, in addition to his skills with a spreadsheet, he writes this weekly column about whatever recent going-ons caught his attention. Dr. Wes has contributed to the paper since 1994. Curious about his process or have a response to one of his columns? Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more of the Nov. 3-9, 2021 issue.