VR in Social Media

Today, people constantly interact with data through social media. Likes, comments, and other forms of data are visualized and quantified on social media platforms--and people pay close attention to these data. Decisions are made, legitimacy determined, friendships influenced by the data available to users on social media platforms.

While there may be a limited number of available VR applications for social media at this point, there are plenty of data visualizations for social network data. They use the rich data available through social media APIs to draw connections between users and concepts in order to map out trends. Here's a great 360-degree 3D visualization of how Russian Twitter trolls created and promulgated a polarizing hashtag during the 2016 Presidential Election.

Given the increase in virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, VR stands as a great alternative to connect with friends, family and colleagues. With the added benefit of sharing a virtual space together, socializing on VR can provide more meaningful experiences in a world apart. There are currently available VR social media apps such as VRChat and REC ROOM, where users can meet in public or private rooms, build worlds and play games with others.

Facebook's accusation of Oculus Inc. indicates that the future of VR will be immersed in social media. An Oculus app in development, Facebook Horizon is now available in Beta version, allowing users to have social experience together. Horizon users can meet up with friends, chat, watch videos and even build worlds together.

At the Facebook Connect 2021 event, Facebook rebranded its company as Meta, signaling that the next step for the company was prioritizing virtual reality worlds focused on social connection. This included more significant developments of Horizon to be released, including Horizon Worlds (focused on social / gaming interactions) and Horizon Workrooms (focused on productivity / collaboration). Facebook is prioritizing building their social platforms into the virtual reality space, and as of 2022 many other companies are intending to develop their own metaverse as well (Microsoft, Roblox, Epic Games, etc.).