The unique isolation and downtime provided by COVID and being a VR beta user of Facebook Horizons has allowed me to further hone my craft of community design and development into virtual reality culture and try out my skills in this emerging field of social technology. In November 2020, I began implementing a coordination of worlds project of creating a Hub-worlds collective where journeys would be linked by users to allow people to hop through or follow a series of world-doors by a theme instead of categories in a menu list. I co-created a Hub-of-hub world called "Between." In December 2020, I supported and helped create two Christmas worlds "Christmas Doors" and "Horizon Christmas 2020."
This required extensive community engagement to coordinate door drops from other Christmas worlds and collaborative relationships with multiple world creators to retrieve prize world items that became Christmas tree ornaments in the second Christmas world.
Through hundreds of hours of VR time, my identity in community development and design in VR evolved and transformed. I learned many things about how VR and real life are similar and different. For example, VR users do not naturally coordinate schedules well (It is a game and entertainment platform after all!), but are also collaborative if given the right opportunity to help and feel seen by others.
Over the last few months, a VR documentary film-maker, John Harvey, has been accompanying me throughout my adventures and filming different community building efforts, like the connection of the worlds I build and how they impact users, tutoring brave and terrified new world creators on using their tools, an orienting to virtual reality and social applications series focused on Horizons (1st episode to be released soon!).
Recently, a new community building project has emerged: A Game Jam on Covid Vaccine Myths and Magic. This will be likely occurring over the first half of February 2021 and hopefully include a myriad of brilliant world designers. Here's a summary of the proposal.
These are reflections on VR community design experiments, collaborations, and my individual user experience. How do we connect through the virtual reality medium in a way that enhances our connection with self and our real life relationships?