It's hard to make sense of status in virtual worlds when the current landscape is overwhelming and hard to manoeuvre. Should people buy NFTs? Should brands be offering them? And what does the metaverse have to do with everything? As influence begins to be decentralised, exclusivity in online spaces is undergoing a shake-up that both brands and consumers are coming to terms with.
Since the introduction of the metaverse into common cultural discourse, brands have begun to jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to appeal to people that are moving away from traditional social media platforms and toward community-oriented spaces that level the playing field. Facebook has even rebranded as Meta as virtual environments begin to take centre stage.
We spoke to Matt Klein, a cultural theorist, cyberpsychologist, and marketing strategist, about exclusivity in online spaces, democracy in online environments, and new digital status metrics:
What does exclusivity in online spaces currently look like?
The less there is of something, the more sought after it becomes. With this in mind, it’s why we’re seeing a newfound craving for NFTs and luxury houses entering the metaverse. These are chances to better ensure exclusivity in a virtual environment. Today’s excitement is based on our new ability to promise exclusivity in a space where it was once hard to deliver.
How will exclusivity work with the promise of the metaverse being a place for democracy?
The tension today is that multiple platforms are vying to be that primary metaverse. Metaverse real-estate value is, in part, based upon population. What we get now are multiple metaverses. That’s one way forward. But we need to ensure the purchases of digital goods can be brought into these multiple environments.
Are NFTs diversifying the status metrics or transferring them?
At this time, NFTs are neither diversifying nor just transferring them, it’s doing both. Digital goods are opening the doors to those who would have originally not participated in a luxury market but also allowing those original buyers to continue in a different space.
Brand in action:
The Sandbox is drawing new audiences to the metaverse by partnering with celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, building hype through partnerships that introduce previously detached communities to the blockchain, NFTs, and new virtual environments.