A Brave New Internet: Hacking the Narrative of Mark Zuckerberg’s 2021 Introduction of the Metaverse

Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar, Silvana Beerends-Pavlovic, Bas Van den Berg, Gemma Coughlan

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review


We are entering an era of ‘techlash’: increasing unease with the hold of large technology companies over our lives, driven by fatalistic feelings of loss of agency. Neither attempts by these companies to address such concerns, such as appointing ethical committees and ombudsmen, nor grassroot initiatives aimed at user empowerment, seem effective in addressing this. This context remains unacknowledged in Mark Zuckerberg’s introduction of the Metaverse on 28 October 2021. We will show, however, that it is still implicitly addressed through its narrative. A far-reaching transformation of the way in which we use the internet is presented as desirable and unescapable, employing an epic narrative mode which values constancy of the individual and their mastery over their surroundings. However, this future is shaped by Zuckerberg and his company: promising agency for all, it is remarkable how little agency is given to the user. We juxtapose this smooth future vision with a counternarrative using the same narrative building stones, but told in a narrative mode distributing agency more equally. Thus, we engage in strategic analysis, exploring how to resist narratives such as the Metaverse’s. We call this method hacking the narrative.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot) 236 - 268
Aantal pagina's32
TijdschriftNarrative Works
StatusPublished - 24-mei-2023

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