We’re only scratching the surface of how virtual reality technology will alter everyday life.

The newest virtual reality devices represent early models of much, much, much more advanced technology to come.

The latest buzz in the world of social media is that Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared that the company has created a team dedicated to the research and development of virtual reality.

As exciting as this news is (think of all the possibilities), it compels me to stop and view this news through a psychologist’s reality.

Don’t get me wrong…I’d certainly love to see what the Facebook “Matrix” will look and feel like. (The Matrix is my favorite movie of all time.)

I anticipate being swept away by the virtual reality experience.

When I stroll through my virtual, 360 degree world of Facebook updates, videos and random opinions, I’m likely to lose touch with the life I’ve built beyond my headset, at least for a brief moment.

I won’t just be updating my Facebook feed—I’ll be entering it.

Mr. Zuckerberg, please include a timer in your futuristic, virtual reality Facebook feed because the world is going to become even more preoccupied with the alternative reality that is social media, and we will ALL need reminders to check in with real life.

I’m guessing that earlier version of a virtual reality environment on Facebook will have a strong initial appeal because of the novelty factor, but then our interest will fizzle out until the technology gets REALLY fancy.

The REAL Danger of Social Media Virtual Reality

The biggest danger inherent in visiting a virtual world containing all of my social media connections (and with using virtual reality gear of any kind on a regular basis) is the effect it will have on our current reality.

I'm not looking forward to the experience of transitioning from social media virtual… Click To Tweet

I can imagine that it will be brutal to go from a pleasing, make-believe world to our responsibilities.

It’s safe to assume that when Facebook and Google and all the other giants start to perfect the technology that builds and manipulates a virtual world that we visit daily, we run the risk of forgetting how to act and feel positive about the life we’ve built.

From Pleasure to Happiness in Your Virtual World

Facebook is not something that brings lasting happiness. It’s more about pleasure and quick information.

It’s where adults get their hourly candy, a drug that wears off quickly, a synthetic sense of being connected to and updated about and by the virtual version of people you know.

What makes Facebook merge with our lives so easily is that we can move in and out of it quickly. You just minimize the window once you’ve gotten your fix. You return in a flash to check who has liked or commented on your post.

In, out, in out.

It works because we can return easily to our kids or our job or our bathroom.

Once you start entering an all-encompassing, visually stunning social media universe that swallows your attention and removes all evidence of the life you’ve lived today, you’re in trouble if you expect to get back to whatever you’re doing with ease.

To put it frankly, if you don’t create a disciplined approach to how often you enter your virtual world, reality is going to suck, badly.

You’ll stop caring so much about your commitments, and transitioning between tasks will be even more painful than it already  is.

When you have such an easily accessible alternative to reality that captures all of your attention, you’ll be shocked at how fast it seems like time went by—and with no memory of the time lost.

The gap between pleasure and happiness will widen just as much as the dramatic contrast between your virtual and real worlds.

Mr. Zuckerberg, please create a virtual world in which:

  1. It’s super easy to transition back to reality AND
  2. the virtual world of Facebook betters our reality in some way that a non-virtual Facebook hasn’t yet achieved.

If you can accomplish these two requests, I will be so thrilled to jump into your virtual, social world.

Sources:

CNET