Is virtual reality the future of social networking?

When we’re sold virtual reality, we’re of the impression that our social interactions will become more intimate and life-like, and that we will be treated to a social media experience beyond the realms of possibility. Arguably, the technological development of virtual reality on our social screens is fascinating and clever, but the argument is, will it ever really take off?

One of the most high-tech virtual reality inventions to date is the Oculus Rift, comprising of a virtual reality headset that works hand-in-hand with your laptop or desktop PC. Facebook has its own virtual reality on Oculus known as the ‘Oculus Rooms’ where you can quite literally immerse yourself in the platform. ‘Parties’ and ‘Rooms’ are two of the features that let Facebook friends virtually ‘hang out’. You can create your own apartments, play cards, watch movies or take virtual selfies with your friends. This does beg the question, is this not what video games are for? Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion back in 2014; a very strong vote of confidence for an advancement we don’t seem to have heard too much about.

Immersing yourself in the fantasy world of Facebook might sound amazing, and it definitely changes our perception of digital media, but I would argue there needs to be a distinctive gap between virtual reality and social media, and with this level of virtual reality in the mix we’re at risk of getting too attached or involved in online communications. If virtual reality on social media feels like real life, will we ever communicate normally? Social media isn’t designed to replace face-to-face interaction, and it seems as though this is something virtual reality is looking to replicate.

Obviously, more practical issues may be a reason why virtual hasn’t yet become your reality. The Oculus rift headset will set you back somewhere in the region of a hefty £700. Is this a price we’re willing to pay for this emerging technology?

Another factor is that the idea of virtual reality does sound too good to be true, and when you read up on virtual reality it does give you unnaturally high expectations of what the experience will truly feel like.

So will this reality get real? Only time will tell….

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