Sunday, September 16, 2012

GOING VIRTUAL

Another growing form of community comes in the form of virtual worlds. These consist of online groups of people from around the world that not only discuss their specific interests but create and dress up personal avatars (virtual personas) and socialize within computer game environments. Services like Second Life and IMVU.com offer you the ability to be whoever you wish to be, show off, and meet like minded people. These computer generated worlds often offer a subculture of crafters of virtual products sell to their own communities. This has allowed fans to “live the Faire” all year round, and often culminate in real-world gatherings that allow the avatar’s physical counterparts to meet in the flesh. Over time the separations between these two worlds will become increasingly blurred, and it is up to us as designers to be nimble enough to change with the times.

Supporting Environments 
On Multiple Devices

It may not seem like it, but we are treading the grounds of a brave new world. A world where our audience is ever more connected with each other. Smart phones and portable tablets are becoming part of the paraphernalia your audience is taking with them to your event. Being careful not to whip out an anachronistic cel phone while in period dress is important, but we need to remain open minded about the ways your customers can experience our events, and take it home with them via their portable technologies. Photos and videos will be taken throughout your Faire, so look for opportunities to make your website mobile friendly, and if you are ambitious, consider creating an App that can include a Map of your Faire, and maybe even a way to get a discount on tickets if they download it. Portable devices are going to be the way we document our world, share our experiences, and make purchases, so thinking about the ways you can use it to promote and enhance the experience of your Faire or craft will have you better prepared for these changes as they continue to evolve..

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