While the physical world is complex enough with its social norms and rules of behavior, the metaverse – that collaborative, interactive space where the boundaries of virtuality and reality intermingle – offers a whole new set of etiquette challenges. Understanding the intricacies of metaverse etiquette can be critical to communicating effectively and interacting harmoniously with others.
1. respect the boundaries
As in the real world, everyone has their personal limits in the Metaverse.
- Personal space: despite not occupying a physical space, many users still have a sense of their “personal space.” Do not unexpectedly invade the space of another avatar.
- Access rights: Not every environment or object in the metaverse is accessible to everyone. If someone has a private zone, respect that.
2. preserve authenticity
While it may be tempting to adopt a completely different persona in the metaverse, authenticity is often the key to valuable relationships.
- Be real: It’s okay if your avatar doesn’t look exactly like you for functional or aesthetic reasons. But it should still be an honest representation of who you are and what you represent.
- Clear communication: Precisely because it is easy to hide behind an avatar, you should always communicate clearly and directly.
3. be considerate of others
Interaction in the metaverse can be confusing at times, especially in busy environments.
- Don’t interrupt: Just like in a real conversation, don’t constantly interrupt others.
- Avoid “noise”: Excessive movements, bright colors or loud noises can disturb other users.
4. common errors in the metaverse
- Not listening: In the metaverse, where visual and auditory distractions lurk everywhere, it’s easy to get distracted. However, not listening can be interpreted as disinterest or rudeness.
- Too much personalization: An avatar that is too extravagantly designed can distract other users or even make them uncomfortable.
- Excessive privacy: while privacy is important, an overly closed-off presence in the metaverse can discourage others from interacting with you.
5. differences from traditional video conferencing
Microsoft Teams and similar platforms offer video conferencing where participants usually show their real faces. However, the metaverse is a different dimension.
- Avatars vs. real faces: In the metaverse, the avatar often represents the person. This can make it difficult to interpret emotions or intentions because we can no longer rely on micro-expressions or body language.
- Spatial presence: In the metaverse, there is a sense of being in a “room,” which can change the dynamics of group conversations. In a videoconference, everyone is the same size and presence; in a metaverse, distance and positioning can play a role.
- Interactive capabilities: The metaverse often offers the ability to manipulate objects, move around in different environments, or even change the avatar’s appearance mid-conversation. This requires an additional layer of etiquette.
The Metaverse is an exciting new territory with endless possibilities. But like any social environment, it brings its own label norms. By understanding and respecting these norms, we can ensure that our interactions are both productive and enjoyable. Ultimately, it’s about showing the same consideration and empathy that we value in the physical world, even when the environment is digital.