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Reunions in the Metaverse

Prior to the advent of worldwide telecommunications, social media and videoconferencing, high school reunions were one of the few ways people were able to stay connected with old school friends once they had graduated and moved away. So, why do people still attend school reunions in a world where you can connect with pretty much anyone on the planet within a few clicks? A key factor may just be idle curiosity, the majority of people simply want to see how people have changed over the intervening years.

Film, television, and literature, generally (John Hughes movie magic wish fulfilment aside) paint school reunions as disasters of spectacular proportions or use them as devices to explore characters’ feelings of shame, hatred, guilt, and existential dread. So, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 87% of high school reunions have less than half of their class turn up!

So, would class reunions fare any better in the Metaverse? According to a survey travel is the number one reason people are hesitant to attend reunions. This, according to the same survey, is because “40% of people have to fly or drive more than 3 hours and 47% did not have family or friends to stay with.” Cost comes in a relatively close second, so the cost of virtual reality (VR) equipment or other technologies required to enter the Metaverse may prove to be prohibitive. However, in a future where a fully realised Metaverse exists, we assume that a large proportionate of the population will have the ability to enter the Metaverse from the comfort of their own home and that the associated global Metaverse ecosystem includes the ability to easily rent the required equipment. “Poor attendance” comes in fourth after “Not my thing.” which means that, according to the survey, a full 68% of reasons for reunion hesitancy can be countered with the ability to attend virtually.

So, assuming we now have people coming to the party, what kind of party will it be? Well, the beauty of the Metaverse is that it can be held in any location you can imagine, or even any multiple locations you can imagine. Perhaps a rec room where you can meet up with old flames and rekindle past relationships? More tantalising for would be a complete virtual replica of your high school, populated with recreations of you the school’s “greatest hits”, the time you pranked your teacher, that historic school sporting moment, that fight in the school yard, graduation, that that kiss behind the bike sheds? All of these memories, played out in front of you, like walking through a movie of your schools days, but as an adult. Who knows, it may provide a refreshingly different perspective on things.

Those that are concerned with how their lives have turned out compared with the lives of their former classmates, can take a virtual tour of their achievements and, assuming they’ve not applied a generous Metaverse filters avoid any fabricated stories about careers, personal accomplishments, and relationships. In any case, it has to be better than the current offering, right?

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