I am scratching my head trying to understand why Facebook would spend 2 billion dollars on a VR startup, and other than grand plans by Facebook to become another Google, I find nothing. What is most interesting about this purchase of Oculus is the surfacing of hatred for Facebook, which is really what I would like to write about, since it seems the more newsworthy aspect in the immediate sense, here in early 2014.
After all the Snowden revelations about just how in-depth the NSA is spying on Americans and the world at large, I feel there is a backlash against social media companies, which may finally signal a change in the dynamics of a post 9-11 America. Facebook has done itself no favors in this area, making each iteration of its site harder and harder to keep posts private, and setting defaults to share your everyday musings to over 7 billion people, no matter how risque. We engage in social media to share our lives, but when we feel, correctly, that the system is rigged to catch us off-guard by sharing private thoughts and moments inappropriately, we feel spied upon. I know one family member who simply refuses to use Facebook at all, and I don’t blame this person, since common sense tells me they are following the wiser course of action.
With so much of our personal lives now shared willingly, or not, by the very devices and services we rely on as social creatures, a great deal of frustration at the callous disregard of our privacy is to be expected, and praised. If the established social media companies do not start taking into account people’s desire to present the public at large a public persona, and another persona in private, they will be replaced by a company that does.
So, Oculus VR is now a Facebook company, and thus VR may be doomed yet again, not by the limits of technology this time, but rather through guilt by association. Virtual Reality seems cursed to rise, only to be cut down at every turn, as though reality does not wish it’s territory to be infringed upon by this digital upstart. If there is a lesson here, it is that our virtual selves should be extensions of our Real Life lives, and not become the sole expression of them. And above all, we should all learn that loose lips sink ships.