Yesterday, I was sitting with around 30 communication professionals, discussing various industry trends and how it will shape the communication goals for the coming year. And how could metaverse not find a mention, right?
Ever since metaverse became a bandwagon, it has been touted as the next big thing. Several brands have jumped on to metaverse. There are a few ideas that stand out and inspire. But even before metaverse could establish a strong ground, the word (metaverse) itself is fighting a close battle with other jargons of the industry such as pivot, leverage, and viral!
The number of times I have used the word ‘metaverse’ in this article is far less than one hears during a pitch or meeting.
Metaverse is emerging as an alternate venue for hosting brand events – from Holi parties to musical performances to engage the audience. But does metaverse find a place in your crisis preparedness process?
On December 16, MIT Review published an article, “The metaverse has a groping problem already”, speaking about the experiences of victims of sexual harassment in the virtual world. Post the incident, Meta decided to introduce a personal boundary for VR avatars of users.
“A personal boundary prevents anyone from invading your avatar’s personal space. If someone tries to enter your personal boundary, the system will halt their forward movement as they reach the boundary,” said Meta in the statement issued to the media.
Metaverse hosts have initiated steps to strengthen safety precautions. Crisis anticipation, assessment and mitigation plans have always been part of any on-ground event. It is incumbent on crisis communication experts to counsel clients to assess and prepare for such risks that can turn into a crisis. Here
When I read about Nina Jane Patel’s issue, I conducted an experiment. I sent the MIT article to 10 communication professionals and later touched upon the subject during our banter sessions. Most of them didn’t show the same level of seriousness as they would have shown had it happened in the real world. Virtual and augmented reality may not cause physical harm, but the mental trauma is no less than from the real world. This also highlights the issue warrants sensitization among stakeholders.
Crisis mitigation processes must be based on living documents that keep transforming with reputation risks’ changing landscape. It’s epochal to map all potential reputation risk scenarios emerging from the use of augmented, virtual and mixed reality in your crisis preparedness document. What could be likely holding statements?
Is the process robust enough to respond to a crisis emerging in the virtual world with agility? Digital platforms are unforgiving and often impatient. Therefore the turnaround time for a digital crisis is far lesser than in the real world. Set up and prepare a mechanism for proactive communications to customers and sensitize ground teams on basic ground rules for media engagement. Delay in response can also be perceived as a weakness by your stakeholders.
Is a metaverse and digital advisor part of your team who can be approached for counsel during a crisis? Work in tandem with your legal team to understand the legal implications of such a crisis, and what should be the response mechanism.
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