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Like any other social media app, influencers have to hold a community to make them valuable to brands, Metaverse will also have a similar scenario where influencers have to form a community and produce content for the virtual world. While internet users are trying to circle their heads around the term ‘Metaverse’, is the influencer cohort ready to build their communities in the ‘Phygital’ world?

The Metaverse is said to blur the boundaries between what’s real and what’s virtual, live events and activities that one could imagine only to happen physically can now take place anywhere. The Metaverse music concert by Sparsh Dangwal was attended by around 30 people and was the talk of the town in the month of January.

So, what will change if Metaverse is as normalised as using social media apps, and how will it change the game for social media users?

Archit Agarwal

Archit Agarwal, Reputation Architect - Digital, Design, and Influencer Marketing, TheMavericks India, said, “Metaverse will change the way we consume the internet. The opportunities to engage with people in a virtual format would be a lot more immersive where an influencer can not only engage with their audiences through pieces of content but perhaps even build a virtual space where audiences can actually live as they do. Social media may become/remain an amplification channel for the metaverse. However, it could also somehow be subsumed by the metaverse itself. It's hard to say for now however, it will be key in communicating with audiences regardless of its form.”

Paritosh Anand

Paritosh Anand, Influencer and Entrepreneur, thinks that Metaverse should take its own sweet time to blossom fully. He said, “Quite honestly, I want it to take its time. I really feel we're not ready for tech as advanced as this, especially right now, in our lives. With the increasing use of social media every single day, I feel we have lost a certain sense of self-awareness, which is very vital when we talk about the concept of the Metaverse because one way or another - it is creating another 'reality' for us. If we are not aware of the reality we are in, right now, we will be extremely unprepared if we are offered a playground of a reality, which is not really 'reality'.”

With the help of Metaverse, internet users around the world can have the possibility to explore the globe while sitting in the comfort of their homes using AR and VR technology. Many Indian start-ups are trying to make Metaverse easily accessible for Indian users. Companies like Loka, Zippy, PartyNite, among others, are organising events like live concerts, international marathons, auctions, and marketplaces giving users a taste of the coming virtual age. As already mentioned, influencers have to gear up and create their communities, and hold places for them to stay relevant in the coming years. But why is it important for the cohort to start right away?

Vedant Kaushik

YouTuber and Podcaster, Vedant Kaushik, said, “The trends of the past have shown that the most relevant and impactful creators/influencers are closely tied to the platforms that are currently most relevant. For instance, creators and pages on Facebook used to be the premier ones in the initial days of social media, and then similar trends across TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and others. I believe that the next generation of the most impactful creators/influencers will emerge from the creative ways in which they make use of the Metaverse tools that become available to them, Metaverse has the potential to create a connection between audiences and creators like never before, and it’s important for the creators who want to do that to understand and use the Metaverse’s capabilities the best way they can.”

Like the early creators of YouTube are known as YouTubers, Instagram - Influencers, TikTok - TikTokers, Metaverse creators will be known as XR (Extended Reality) creators, which will have an amalgamation of reality and virtual reality.

Agarwal said that for now, the novelty of it would be the reason to be on the metaverse and there is also the first-mover advantage. “If creators are able to build an identity today, it will pay off in the long run. This is pretty much how some of the largest creators today came to be. They were the first to show up and raked in the reach through the years,” he added.

Earlier when Instagram (Meta) started pushing the influencer/creator economy and brands understood the importance of influencer marketing, they became a part of their marketing plan. Now every marketing plan has a budget for influencer marketing. It seems like in a few years, the budget will also have a piece for XR creators. Live commerce is said to get a boost with Metaverse and more brands will have their stores in the virtual world. Creators will have to form communities in order for them to get collaborations in the virtual world as well.

Ways an influencer can build their community

Kaushik said, “We’ve already seen examples of great community building via Discord, and I think the first step to building one in the Metaverse will follow that example. Figuring out ways for people who share similar interests, or follow the same bunch of creators to get together online and have discussions, or just essentially ‘hang out’ with each other.”

“I’ve seen people spend hours on my own Discord channel during a time doing different types of bonding activities, at one time there was a talent show happening entirely via voice chat; I think creators will be able to bring their viewers/followers together within the Metaverse and it’ll be the ultimate community building and engagement tool”, he added. 

While Agarwal said, “Currently, Decentraland offers virtual land which could be used to build your own experience centre. Though it's a pricey endeavour, that is one way to lay claim to something in the metaverse. The other ways are to engage with the existing community and make them natural allies of your work. Finally, NFTs are a low-cost endeavour into getting more involved in the larger blockchain-assisted scheme of things.”

Many celebrities are also trying their hand at NFTs and Metaverse. Famous hip-hop artist/rapper SnoopDogg has his own Snoopverse where fans can have an access to his life, buy NFTs and attend exclusive events. One of his fans has even bought a virtual land to be his neighbour for a whopping amount of $450,000. In the Indian scenario, celebrities including Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Rajnikanth, have their NFTs out there. While singer Daler Mehndi had a virtual store - The Balle Balle Store designed by PartyNite which will have a Balle Balle NFT passport for users to access the stores.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Daler Mehndi (@thedalermehndiofficial)

Dasavatharam Actor Kamal Hasan also had come up with his Metaverse avatar to enter into the new world of virtual reality.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan)

So what could possibly be the benefit of Metaverse for content creators?

Anand said, “I feel one of the greatest benefits us creators would get out of it would be a feeling of live interaction with fellow creators, and also a platform to engage with our communities and work on the bond from that point. Another great benefit I feel would be the convenience that would come with being a part of events from across oceans, while sitting on our beds from back home, networking with people from different parts of the world and exchanging ideas while being there, but not really being there.”

Agarwal said that it will enable greater access and ownership of data, greater customisation in the type of content, and deeper engagement with the community. 

There are two sides to every coin, and therefore, the ‘Phygital’ world poses its own set of challenges. Earlier, a woman was molested in the Metaverse by a group of men. Similarly, there is a growing debate about parents’ worries about the Metaverse being a safe space for children.

So, what are the limitations of the Metaverse? Agarwal said that the number one limitation is that it is capital intensive. “Things on the metaverse are purchased in cryptocurrencies which can be quite expensive. Content formats are largely built through 3D renders which means there is a lot of development that a creator would have to undertake to truly get ready for the metaverse. Finally, it's still very nascent in terms of quality of engagement and the number of people who actually have access to it,” he added.

Kaushik said, “This is a tricky one since what we consider the limitations will also be the biggest benefits. Most creators that are currently popular and operating in social media as it exists today will find it challenging to transition smoothly to the Metaverse, owing to the simple fact that new technology is often intimidating and difficult to adapt. This will lead to what will essentially be a filtering process, where the current crop will give way to the people who can transition, and the ones who are born with the Metaverse already a reality.”

In an earlier conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Loka founder, Krishnan Sunderarajan had said that they are working with brands, especially lifestyle brands, to help them have their virtual presence. It is anticipated that live commerce will go up a notch with Metaverse becoming normal. PartyNite Founder Rajat Ojha suggested that in the future people will be able to access stores while being at home, try products and have them delivered to their doorsteps. 

Talking about live commerce in Metaverse, Agarwal said, “Live commerce will see a huge change in the way shopping will be done. Brands can truly do a show and tell about their products. I can imagine people checking out a product in the metaverse and seeing how it fits or looks in their virtual house before making a purchase. Additionally, digital art and goods may see a huge rise as well -- akin to what we see in games such as Fortnite currently.”

On the same, Kaushik said, “Live commerce is already heading into the realms of incredible innovation, just yesterday while watching a cooking reality show I was filled with the instant desire to eat the dish that the contestant was cooking on screen, and I wished for a way I could click a button and get the same dish; seems like a real possibility in the coming years. Similarly for fashion, technology, travel and all areas of commerce. 

“This exists today in some capacity on Instagram where you can shop for outfits right from the browsing experience, but with the Metaverse, I believe it’ll become even more advanced; and since this is the Metaverse I also believe a major contributor of this Live commerce aspect would be the NFT community,” he added.

Content@BuzzInContent.com