Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SL8B, Community & Second Life

The Starting Point

It's probably just as well that I spent so much time at the first week of SL8B typing.  It means my hands need time to recover before I can pound on the keys and vent my feelings about some of the comments I read in the blogosphere about this event.  To go easier on the damaged digits I'm going to speak instead to the volunteers and visitors who made this a fantastic experience.

The word community derives from the old french for "community, commonness, everybody".  One etymological definition I saw said the two words which combined to create this one meant "together" and "gift".  How perfect!  The important component of a community celebration such as this one is "everybody".  Everybody who is in the community is welcome and encouraged to participate in the event.

To those who wondered why Linden Lab didn't just do it "for us".  Well first of all there aren't more than 800 Lindens and that's what would have been required.  More importantly,  the group of willing and dedicated people who did put this event on wouldn't have had the chance to participate, share their joy, have a blast and expand their friend lists the way we did.   

Resident Volunteers Built Almost 300 Exhibits

The first team of volunteers worked with Moles to create the basic infrastructure of SL8B - the canvas for the hundreds of builders who descended and transformed the landscape.  These builders represented all levels of experience and skill.  They worked long hours with passion and joy and a desire to be involved.

To those, like the young woman I know of, who were less experienced builders sharing their excitement about Second Life and enjoying the fact that everybody can build - ignore the ones who criticized you for not being "professional".  Those "award winners" don't get it.  I'm convinced they are the type of people who won't accept handmade birthday cards from children or friends.  They wouldn't be professional either.  The fact that they're made with love and a lot of thought and effort would be unimportant.

To that young woman who wondered why somebody she didn't know and had never heard of would want to hurt her, well that's the kind of people they are.  Not worth your time.

The Range of Skill Levels, Designs & Builds Reflected the Population of Second Life

The builders had about two weeks before the rest of the grid could attend.  They not only spent it working on their own exhibits, they supported each other by providing assistance with problems and transferring skills.  They also had spontaneous parties and there was a lot of laughter and music and dancing.

Some of you builders were accused of being too commercial.  It might be true I suppose.  For most of you though I suspect it was more a case of sharing what you love and any county fair includes organizations giving out information about themselves.  So pffft to those "award winning experts".  The sheer volume of gifts and music and creativity and sharing was fabulous and I thank you.

When the "doors opened" the stages and venues came to life.  More than 300 performances of singing, dancing, comedy and educational presentations took place on the four stages and in the auditorium.  Musicians and DJ's representing every musical genre you can imagine gave audiences a glimpse into their favourite parts of Second Life. To all of you who had the courage and willingness to share with the rest of us, thank you!  Music and performance critics are just noise.  You gave us joy!

To the volunteers who led, coordinated and managed those stages, bravo!  It's OK, you can sleep now. :)

To the exhibitors who added to the performance count with parties and events - what a blast!  Thank you for adding to the sense of celebration!

The Diversity of Builds was Amazing

I'll end this post with a word to two more groups.  First the team of volunteers I worked with known as the Greeters. I am so proud of each and every one of you!  You helped newbies who had just signed up in Second Life and appeared knowing nothing.  You made everybody feel welcome.  You supported each other and the larger SL8B team whenever and however you could.  You demonstrated community every day and it's one of the highlights of all of my lives that I had the opportunity to share the madness with you.  Thank you!

And a final note to the residents who attended.  Thank you for "getting it".  Thank you for being interested in more than your narrow corner of the grid, for experiencing music you hadn't before or finding new favourite performers.  Thank you for checking out as many exhibits as you could.  And thank you for expressing your appreciation to the volunteers who worked so hard on this celebration of our world.  Your comments were very welcome!

The insular, elitist, judgmental "award winners" can have their own community.  If it was a contest we won. :)

The Stages are Dark Now, But Oh It was Fun!


seaslug_of_doom said...

Hear hear! Great post!

I loved every minute of my time at SL8B and was so amazed every minute. What a marvelous community effort! I'm so sorry it's all over already.

I'm determined to participate in the SL9B.

Lucky Irving
NavanaxSacratus Resident

Caliburn Susanto said...

I'm not through taking pictures yet, so haven't seen everything. However, I have already seen exhibits that one could call "amateurish" (there is no sin in being an amateur anything; practice makes perfect!) and frankly I felt, "Well, that's their current level of expertise in building, but I bet they had a blast being chosen to exhibit and putting it all together!"

To be honest, I often wish I was new to Second Life. I can vaguely remember the incredible excitement in the pit of my stomach over all the discoveries and possibilities that have now been dampened by thousands of hours of familiarity.

I don't know anything about rude comments made by contest winners (yet) but I suppose I will run across them. When I do it will make them losers in my book.

Honour McMillan said...

@seaslug Yay! I hope you do :)

@Caliburn I should have pointed out the sims are still open this week - thank you for reminding me :)

I wasn't going to link to those comments - lol, I'm trying to relax now. *grin*

Unknown said...

Thanks Honour,

I very much enjoyed the time I spent at SL8B, it showed very well the diverse and vibrant communities that make SL so amazing.

As for the negative dip shits and bullies, I just ignore them (sometimes mock them) some people are just idiots.

All the organisers and exhibitors did a great job (especially those that were pushing themselves to creat something at the limit of their skills).


Polenth said...

I'm sure some of the complaints are due to people assuming everyone thinks the way they do. Some builds others raved about weren't really my thing. Some of my favourites haven't been mentioned on other blogs (that I've seen). It'd be rather boring if everyone built the same sort of thing.