If you’re looking for it, head to 3.1 Genesis Plaza in Decentraland, one of the most trendy metavers. Will, the first homeless person in the meta-verse, draws our attention to the isolation of the most insecure “IRL”, in real life. He performed on March 31st. The day of the end of the winter holidays in France. To condemn the resumption of rent arrears, but also the isolation of almost 7 million people in France, the Entourage Association has decided to mark the occasion with this Metaverse homeless. True spokesman for the most insecure.
“We want to recreate social ties, and this virtual character seemed like a great idea as an interpellation agent“, Explains Jean-Marc Potdevin, President and Co-Founder of the Entourage Network, to WE DEMAIN. Entourage, a community of 150,000 committed citizens, therefore questions this future community, this Web3, where virtual social ties will be king. She invites each of us to take care of the most insecure, in real life, through this unique operation.
A virtual character from the metaverse with very real roots
Specifically, Will was created in partnership with the TBWA \ Paris agency. This is the origin of this idea and works For free with Entourage since 2015. This first homeless person in the meta-verse has been under development for a few days in Decentraland. “We apparently did not buy a plot of the 23,000 m2 of land available in Decentraland, as Will is homelessexplains Jean-Marc Potdevin. He wanders around, but he regularly comes past Genesis Plazawhich is the central place of this metavers controlled by a foundation. There are slots where he is available to chat. “
I’m Will, the first person #SansAbriDuMetavers. I am here to remind you that in France, more than 300,000 homeless people live in the most absolute exclusion and are deprived of social ties.
– Entourage (@R_Entourage) March 31, 2022
The Entourage association has also planned cross-interviews with people in real life in the future. With very real homeless, members of the Entourage network, people from the meta-verse … Even candidates for the 2022 presidential election, if they accept the invitation. On this topic, Emmanuel Macron has also mentioned the idea of a European metaverse and created a campaign space in Minecraft. Will he dare to swap with Will?
An SDF created by the homeless themselves
A virtual character, but who stays as close as possible to real homeless people. Voluntary, The goal was not to be a caricature, but to reflect real experiences. The will was therefore created with the help of the Comité de la Rue d’Entourage. It is this collective of people who are currently or formerly homeless that has helped give Will depth. “The deputy chairman of the committee even imitated the way a homeless person stands, with their shoulders slightly bent, how they move to make themselves as invisible as possible”indicates the chairman of the association.
Far from clichés, Will reflects the average homeless person. “Out of 300,000 homeless people in France, 295,000 are just like you and me. We need to break down prejudices“, insists Jean-Marc Potdevin. Age, gender, skin color, clothes, choice of first name … every detail is well thought out so that it reflects reality as closely as possible. “To the point that those involved in the creation of Will ended up having reservations, for fear of seeing the character being attacked in the metaverse.e, ”he explains. Fortunately, this scenario is unlikely because the metavers implement measures to avoid these situations.
Changing the perception and interaction with the homeless
According to Entourage, 71% of the homeless have a smartphone or tablet. “Many of them use social networks, but it does not get them out of loneliness, adds Mr Potdevin. They are always ignored in real life. For this to change, a change of perspective is necessary. Perceive them no longer as people who need help, but as neighbors, people who have as much to offer us as we have to offer them, through discussions and social exchanges. ”
To promote a real connection with the most insecure, not on social networks, but in real life, Entourage has created an application. The Entourage Solidarity Network (on the Internet, iOS and Android) makes it possible to connect supportive neighbors with the homeless, but also to deconstruct prejudices (alcohol, begging, Roma, etc.) through video content. The goal, ultimatelyis made of recreate friendship networks, in real life, through social events which mixes homeless, precarious and socialized people.
Increasingly connected … and increasingly isolated behind our screens
Studies, like Gartners’, predict that a quarter of the population will spend at least an hour a day on a metaverse by 2026. But what the rest of the population and the preservation of social ties?
This is actually the current paradox: we have never been so connected and yet never so isolated behind our screens. A contradiction that risks becoming even more accentuated with the development of the metaverse, this virtual and immersive world, considered the future version of the Internet.
However, this social bond at risk is a real lifeline for the most insecure. The association reminds us: 4 million French people have less than 3 conversations a year. And an Entourage report, released in 2020, points out that 72% of the homeless around say they want to embark on new projects (resume their steps, volunteer, find a job, etc.). The importance of taking an interest in social ties more than ever.
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