Further afield

In the main, i’ve concentrated over the past week on the events happening in and around the SL9B celebrations at the official Sims, which is exactly as it should be – a huge amount of time and effort has been made by a vast number of people to create a focal point for the ninth birthday celebrations – which, if Linden Lab had their way, would never have been the case. Their suggestion – actually, a cynical  excuse to get themselves off the hook and palm the celebration off onto the residents – was for Gridwide celebrations, to be held in separate communities as they saw fit.

On the surface – had the suggestion been made in good faith, with appropriate support and engagement from the Lab – this sounds a reasonable proposition; in reality, it would have resulted in a nebulous, disjointed and fragmented affair and would possibly have sounded the death knell for any future attempts at celebrating another year for sl.

How do i know this? By reading between the lines of what has been happening further afield, in addition to the activities and events at the main site. By the way, if you were involved in, or organised an offsite event, please don’t take anything i have to say personally: it’s not aimed at anyone in particular, just my general observations, based on what i’ve seen and experienced.

Whilst i’d say that the main celebration brought out the very best of what sl is all about, i’d also have to say that the wider ‘community’ events lacked the coherence, focus and overall impact that the ‘organised’ main event managed to sustain – consequently, many of the community events became far less than they might have been in other, more favourable, circumstances.

Let’s do a quick straw poll, (pointless, i know, since no-one ever completes these things)…

Now, i may be completely off-target here, but i’ve a sneaky suspicion that you either selected option 1 or 4, and even if you have managed to make it to one of the other destinations, i doubt you’ve managed more than a couple.

Here’s my reasoning:

  1. Most of the places to visit on the SL9B destination guide were actually to be found on the official Sims and not community builds elsewhere on the Grid: Of course, i wouldn’t for one minute expect the Lindens to bother signposting the wider community events, since they played no part at all in the celebrations, but by the time you’ve waded through 8 pages of destinations, most of which were at the celebration site, there’s a good chance you’d have done the logical thing and headed off to where most of the action was.
  2. You were put off by the inevitable one-upmanship/bickering/throwing toys out of the pram that sl residents are so good at when they feel they’ve been snubbed, are better than others or felt they had an axe to grins with the SL9B organisation/ event/colour scheme/whatever: Tiresome, isn’t it?
  3. The Community Hub at the Welcome Area wasn’t particularly intuitive or helpful: Nope, i’m not having a dig about this – when was anything in sl ever intuitive or helpful? – but i can understand that hunting for a folder containing the LM amongst those billion other freebie folders you picked up over the week wasn’t particularly easy. Perhaps a TP HUD like for the main event would have been better… sure thing – do you want to script it then?
  4. Erm… most of these community events seem to be shops, galleries or otherwise unconnected with SL9B: Hmm, here’s where i possibly become controversial – calling something an ‘SL9B Celebration Sale’, ‘SL9B Special’ or ‘SL9B Community Exhibit’ and just sticking that title over your normal Sim, shop, gallery or location does not a community event make! Unless you’re going to make the effort to do something different that celebrates the birthday, then this is just a blatant hijacking of something you’ve given nothing to, so that you can get something from it for free – shame on you! Most of the Gridwide community events i visited absorbed my attention for all of 5 minutes, before i’d seen them for what the were and TP’d the hell outta there. You could at least put a few balloons up! Oh yes, i know you can argue a gallery hosting artists from the community is a celebration of the community’s creativity – but how was this week any different to the other 51 weeks in the year?
  5. There was no continuity between the events or with the main event: Agreed – and this, for me, is why any future celebrations really must have a central venue. Small scale, individual or group efforts will never have the clout, presence or traffic to make them anything more than a drop in the virtual ocean and you get none of the sense of overall, cohesive community that one huge localised event can achieve. Yes, on the face of it, they’re a worthy and worthwhile undertaking, but they can never really celebrate sl in the way that the traditional event does.

i’ll conclude by saying a hearty ‘well done’ to all those who did strike out and made the effort to create a community build to celebrate SL9B away from the main site – i hope that you were heartened by the response that you received and that it was a worthwhile venture that you’ll want to repeat in the future, and i’ll conclude by saying that whatever form our celebration takes, we are a community… a rather fabulous one, at that!

We were told by LL “This year we will focus the spotlight on community events” and to go out and show our creativity. This is our creativity, yours, mine and ours.

Community is not just a word it is an entity; a living, breathing entity. An interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location. Our common location is Second Life.

Doc Gascoigne, SL9B Senior Lead, Performance Lead and Grumpy Old Man

s. x

All together now, all together now
All together now in no man’s land 
The Farm – All Together Now

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