Oculus wants you to feel the future, Facebook wants you to feel familiar.

Morgan    November 27, 2017

Social media platforms are always looking for new and futuristic ways for their audiences to interact with one and other. Creating a social media platform that is more humanizing, more compelling and lifelike is exactly what Facebook is trying to accomplish.

Oculus VR is an American tech company founded in 2012, by Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, Michael Antonov, Jack McCauley and Nate Mitchell in Irvine, California now based in Menlo Park. It specializes in virtual reality hardware and software products. (Wikipedia, 2017)

In March 2014, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to acquireOculus VR for US $2.3 billion in cash and stock. In 2015, Oculus VR acquired Surreal Vision, a British startup focused on 3D reconstruction and mixed reality, stating that it could be possible for Oculus VR to develop products with the concept of telepresence. (Wikipedia, 2017)

The company also partnered with Samsung to develop the Samsung Gear VR in November 2015, for the Samsung Galaxy smartphones. (Wikipedia, 2017)

Augmented reality may be the key to Facebook dominating the next decade of mobile, but Facebook is building something incredibly forward-thinking as it rethinks how people experience deeply human emotions in virtual reality. Spaces is just a first step, but it’s an important one. (Matney, 2017)

October 2016, Facebook announced a new product: “Facebook Spaces.” Think of it as Facebook’s Messenger, expanded out to VR. Before you get started, you put together a cartoon avatar of yourself (you can use Facebook photos to automatically generate something, or go nuts in a custom-avatar-creation screen). It’s like creating a Nintendo Mii character — you’re aiming for a rough approximation, rather than a one-to-one match of your face. After that, you use an Oculus Rift headset and two Oculus Touch controllers, and you and a Facebook friend hang out around a virtual table, shooting the breeze. (Swearingen, 2017)

“It’s the difference between going hiking with someone and being on the phone with them while doing laundry,” said Tawny Schlieski, Director of Desktop Research at Intel, explaining what makes social VR so different. (IQ by Intel, 2017)

What Schlieski’s example indicates is that the “VR” component of “social VR” is important because it adds a sense of “presence,” a term that refers to the technology’s ability to create a feeling of physically entering another place. According to many developers, these immersive capabilities can be used to create more personal interactions than the current climate of likes, comments, and retweets. (IQ by Intel, 2017)

“Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et cetera, are driven by a symbiotic relationship between voyeurism and narcissism,” Ohanian said CEO of Redditt, describing how these platforms encourage people to share filtered versions of themselves in the hopes of receiving validation. (IQ Intel, 2017)

“Basically, all of these sites are great at stimulating superficial connections.” Ohanian believes that the true potential of social VR lies in how the technology promotes empathy by allowing people to see the world through the eyes of others, sparking a more genuine online social atmosphere. Instead of looking at photographs of a friend’s honeymoon to Bahamas, for instance, VR followers could slip directly into a 360-degree video of their scuba diving adventure. (IQ Intel, 2017)

Lessons for Others

Social Media platforms are a great way to keep a business top of mind with consumers, without necessarily hitting them over the head with blatant ads. Known as Content Marketing, it is equal parts advertising while also sharing relevant content that demonstrates the usefulness of one’s products and/or services. Since Facebook has now enabled VR video on its platform, Content Marketing is exploring new levels of creativity, while leveraging a few of VR’s strengths, namely, presence and empathy. (Hackl, 2017)

No more laptop nor workstations are required. You only need your VR/AR eyewear to work on-site, remotely, and on-the-go. Everything is synced to the cloud, and with the ability to overlay a keyboard that exists in VR and AR, or a digital assistant that can naturally and accurately transcribe your speech, why even type at all? Unprecedented levels of productivity are right around the corner. (Hackl, 2017)


Organization: Facebook
Industry: Technology
Name of Organization Contact: Mark Zuckerberg

Authored by: M.F

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Facebook. “Facebook Spaces: Social Virtual Reality That Weirdly Works.” Select All, 1 Aug. 2017, nymag.com/selectall/2017/08/facebook-spaces-social-virtual-reality-that-weirdly-works.html.

How Social VR Will Change How We Interact Online.” IQ by Intel, 10 Nov. 2016, iq.intel.com/social-vr-will-change-social-media/.

How VR & AR Will Change Social Media.” Cathy Hackl, cathyhackl.com/blog/2017/8/10/how-vr-ar-will-change-social-media.

Matney, Lucas. “Facebook Spaces: Social Virtual Reality That Weirdly Works.” Select All, 1 Aug. 2017, nymag.com/selectall/2017/08/facebook-spaces-social-virtual-reality-that-weirdly-works.html.

“Oculus VR.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Nov. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oculus_VR.