2016 Mole Day and Bay City History in Second Life

PaleoQuest; Inara Pey, July 2015, on FlickrPaleoQuest, July 2015, one of the more recent projects undertaken by the Moles of the LDPW – blog post

Saturday, 30th of January, 2016 marks the annual Mole Day celebrations in Second Life, and all SL residents are invited to attend festivities at the Bay City Fairgrounds, North Channel.

First held in 2010, Mole Day honours the members of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW), affectionately known as the “moles”, who are responsible for the construction of the Mainland infrastructure in Second Life – the roads, railways, waterways, and so on.

Maximillion Kleen and Gospeed Racer will provide the entertainment at the 2016 Mole Day celebrations
Maximillion Kleen and Gospeed Racer will provide the entertainment at the 2016 Mole Day celebrations

“Moles” are resident builders, scripters and others who create new content on Linden Lab’s behalf and to the benefit of all. These Residents all have Second Life accounts with the last name “Mole”, and work under the auspices of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW).

The Moles have been responsible for some of the larger mainland development projects, such as creating many of the more famous sights in Nautilus and wells as undertaking initial development of Zindra, the Adult continent.

More recently they have been directly involved in projects such as PaleoQuest and Winter Wonderland. The Moles also develop Linden Homes regions on behalf of the Lab, including all of the parks and places to discover within them.

However, their very first project was developing Bay City itself – hence the City’s annual celebration honouring them.

This year’s Mole Day celebrations will take place on Saturday, 30th of January, 2016, three days earlier than the usual Ground-hog Day time for the event, so that full advantage can be taken of the weekend. Activities will start at 11:00 SLT,  with a live performance by Maximillion Kleen, followed by music from KONA Radio’s Gospeed Racer.

Bay City History Exhibition

For Bay Citizens, one of the highlights of Second Life’s 10th Birthday Community Celebration in 2013 was a display highlighting the history of Bay City and the Bay City Alliance. It has long been hoped that the display could be brought back to Bay City.

Now, thanks to the generosity Sylvia Tamalyn, and the support of Bay City History Pavilion producer Marianne McCann, together with by Uccello and Angela Poultry-Seale and Laetizia “Tish” Coronet, the Bay City history exhibition now has a new home. and will officially open alongside of the Mole Day celebrations.

The Bay City History exhibition covers three floors and present visitors with a chronological history of Bay City - and more
The Bay City History exhibition covers three floors and present visitors with a chronological history of Bay City – and more

Spread over the three floors of a converted office building, the exhibition boasts a chronological history of the city, as well as a Bay City poster display, a wall featuring past and present Ms Bay City winners, and a photo display of prominent places around the city, making the latest in a long line of visitor destinations in and around Bay City.

About Bay City and the Bay City Alliance

Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab® and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest group for Residents of Bay City.

With thanks to Marianne McCann.

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A studio in Second Life

The Studio, Holly Kai Gardens
The Studio, Holly Kai Gardens

I’ve often said that I don’t classify myself a photographer or artist. While I do travel far and wide across Second Life visiting regions and art installations and taking photos, amassing several thousand images as a result, I do so more for the purposes of illustrating this blog than for any attempt at artistic endeavour on my part.

Similarly, while I do publish to Flickr, and occasionally share images in various groups there, I do so more because Flickr gives me unlimited storage space when compared to the limited space offered by WordPress, which I tend to use more for images and audio used with news, opinion and update pieces.

The Studio, Holly Kai Gardens
The Studio, Holly Kai Gardens

Nevertheless, all that said, in taking up curating art exhibitions at Holly Kai Park and Holly Kai Garden, I was given the opportunity to establish my own studio at Holly Kai Garden for displaying my work for those who might like to see it in-world.

Located between the koi carp pond and the public terrace at the garden, and facing the two art terraces, it provides me with room to display 26 images, and I plan to rotate those on display on a fairly regular basis.  The split level design offers what I hope will be a cosy little seating area on the upper level, with armchairs places before a warming fire. A coffee machine on the shelf dispenses hot beverages for those in need of some caffeine 🙂 .

The Studio, Holly Kai Garden
The Studio, Holly Kai Garden

I’ve also added lighting to the studio to add a little atmosphere, so having advanced lighting enabled when visiting may add to any visit you might make, but you don’t need to necessarily have shadows enabled, so hopefully this won’t be much of a performance hit if your system does find shadows hard to handle.

The studio will be open alongside of art exhibitions on the Holly Kai Garden terraces, and while I can’t promise to always be there myself, I hope that those of you who do drop in to Holly Kai Park and / or the garden to enjoy the exhibitions staged in either, might also enjoy a visit to the studio as well.

The Studio, Holly Kai Gardens
The Studio, Holly Kai Gardens

And in terms of the park and garden, don’t forget Holly Kai Park features an outstanding group of artists in the first of the renewed Art at the Park series, which runs through until February 7th; while just opened at Holly Kai Garden is Paintings of the Dutch Masters, beautifully curated by Drw. There will be a celebratory party for the latter at the garden on Friday, January 29th   starting at 16:00 SLT, featuring the music of DJ Anthony Wesburn.

You can follow all the latest updates concerning Holly Kai Park and its facilities via the Holly Kai website.

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“If you just build it, they might not come”: promoting events in SL

Seanchai Library, directly and through Storyfests SL, have organised, promoted and run a range of popular and successful events over the years, including a recreation of Orson Welles' 1938 broadcast of War of the Worlds - with suitable embellishments!
War of the Worlds, one of a long line of successful special events organised and promoted by Seanchai Library over the years

Welcome to the first in a news series and to a new departure for this blog – articles by guest contributors. In this series, and over the coming weeks, Caledonia Skytower examines the ins and outs and dos and don’ts of event promotion in a virtual world.

By Caledonia Skytower

1.    Blasting the Myths

Second Life is like baseball, or rather like baseball movies.  Is it really? There is an insidious myth in virtual worlds that if you create something that you believe is wonderful, and tell a few friends about it, people will (and should) come flocking from all parts virtual to see your brilliance, experience your events, fill your jars with awe-induced tips.

“If you build it, they will come”, may be a misquote from a certain Hollywood movie featuring Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and James Earl Jones, but there are times when it feels like it is the motto by which many live by when developing something in a virtual world we want to share with others.

But here is the myth-shattering reality: it takes almost as much time and effort to promote something successfully, as it does to create it. Event and ongoing venue promotion is hard work.  In managing Seanchai Library, which has decent and consistent success for a venue that does not have a single dance pole, I spend approximately 15 hours a week.  Four to five hours of that, depending on the week, is in promotion – nearly one-third.  It is enough to make you get tired of hearing your own promotional voice. You really cannot  get tired of promoting if you want to build a meaningful presence, or have more than three of your BFFs attend your event or explore your creation.

Building something and sending out a few note cards and group notices might now always fill your seats
Building something and sending out a few note cards and group notices, then hoping to luck and word-of-mouth  might not fill your seats

There is no one single way to reach people – no silver bullet or easy answer.  Why is that?  Because people are diverse. They take in information and make decisions about where they spend their time in different ways.  Just as there are different types of learners – people who absorb information best visually, audibly, and kinetically, etc – people look for and process news information in ways that suit how they personally are wired.  It is more than just sending out a few note cards and IM bombing your friends list.  If you want to build a healthy audience base, one with an ever-changing balance of faithful supporters and refreshing new pixels, you have to get information to people in a form and manner that taps into their natural habits.  That is your job!

Back when I was artistic director of a non-profit performing arts company in the first-world, we used to print posters and would allot a certain amount of them to the cast and crew.  This is a pretty fundamental strategy, because your number one audience source (pay attention to this!) is always friends and family.  So you want your performers/artists to be passing the word – to be “roaring lions” as the saying goes.  Actors especially, like keepsakes. A poster is a classic one.  We had to keep reminding people that, unless their back seat had become some unique kind of public place with a lot of people coming and going, leaving posters in the back of the car was defeating the intent of the poster.  Put the posters where people will see them!

Promoting an event / experience can take many forms - posters, blog posts, press releases, hitting social media
Put your promotional material where people will see it – in-world and out-world

The same holds true with information of all kinds about places and events in Second Life.  You have to figure out where people are looking for information, and you have to get your information there for them to see.  You have to be clear and consistent.

This is something that Inara and I have discussed many times – how people can be so naive about promotion.  To be fair, not all of them have had the experience that we have had: having both been virtual journalists and had some experience in promotion elsewhere.  Most of us are consumers of such information, not the progenitors of it. So that is how this series was born, and I want to thank Inara for her support in publishing it.

I do not know absolutely everything about marketing and promotion.  I am not even a marketing professional in first-life. However, over the years I have learned a thing or five, and what I know I will share.  Some concepts do not change with technology or platforms, they just have to be re-applied appropriately in the new context. In this series of posts I will share everything from absolute beginner basics, to evaluating the success of your efforts.

Hang on, and have your pencils sharpened.  Successful events and healthy region traffic will be your final exam.

NEXT POST: The Basics – Who? What? Where? When?

Catch the Entire Series

If You Just Build It… is a multi-part series. To catch up with everything, follow the links below.

  1. Blasting the Myths
  2. The Basics: Who? What? Where? When? How?
  3. Words matter. So does how you use and share them
  4. Creating Visual Collateral