The strange world of the Facebook brand

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

26 March 2014

Is Oculus Rift and Facebook a good match?

Facebook Brand The Facebook brand just purchased a company called Oculus VR, which makes a virtual reality headset called Oculus Rift, for $2 billion in cash and stock.

If you think that Rift is just a screen attached to a pair of goggles or a screen in a pair of glasses like Google Glass, you could not be further from the truth. Rift is a completely immersive experience.

If you move your head to the left, you actually see what is to the left. If you look up, you are looking into the sky or the roof of what ever simulation you are in. Gamers will love it and the possibilities for its use in other applications are nearly limitless.

“This is what creeps me out about Facebook. It is a platform where we can keep track of what is going on with people we know or once knew.”

So what do Oculus Rift and the Facebook brand have in common? Mark Zuckerberg claims that, at its core, Rift is “…a new communications platform. By being truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

I can see it now, a family going to the Grand Canyon for the first time, walking to its edge and Dad saying, “Okay kids, put on your Rifts now so that we can share this entire experience with each other and Grandma and Grandpa at home.”

Have you seen the movie Wall-E? The movie centers around a little robot left on Earth to clean it up after we humans trashed it. Humanity was sent out in space. Technology made it so none of the people on these ships had to do anything. In fact, they did not even have to walk. Everything they did was from a floating chaise lounge with a screen from which all communication was conducted. I guess you could call it “sharing in moments”, but are you really present in that moment?

This is what creeps me out about Facebook. It is a platform where we can keep track of what is going on with people we know or once knew. Facebook is a place where I can see what’s going on in people’s lives that I probably would not have cared too much about otherwise. Facebook does that really well.

But let’s be honest, it is not an “experience.” Facebook’s desire to try to be more than what it is at its core (namely a social media platform) is an overstep and quite frankly, scary. It is especially frightening when you consider how much data Facebook has on all of us. For a service that I do not really need, how much more do I want to invite the platform into my house?

The creator of the popular Minecraft video game echoed this when he tweeted about the Oculus acquisition:

“We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.”

The best brands understand the differences between the business of their business and the business of their brand.

Facebook completely understands the business of its business. It is the best in the business at what it does, but I think it is clouding what Mark Zuckerburg wants to do with the business of its brand. I have a feeling that, since the easiest to market avenue for Rift is in gaming, game developers are going to want to partner with a gaming company, not a social media company. I do not think there will be too many hardcore gamers who are going to want to flaunt their VR headsets with a Facebook logo slapped on the side.

See more posts in the following related categories: Facebook


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