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Kids are starting to scare me.

I guess I should rephrase that to “kids are starting to amaze me.” The more I’ve been working with kid’s virtual world sites, the more I’m constantly amazed by their creativity and know how. Kids are even running their own blogs these days!

This came to mind when I came across this music video a Webosaurs user had created in-world. Flash wrote out the lyrics in-world, took screenshots and made a music video out of that. You have to check this out!

I’m impressed. He made the video in Webosaurs, a sick dinosaur virtual world for kids. Check it out!

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Taunter Goodnight performs for a packed crowd at the farewell Gossip Girl Festival

Taunter Goodnight performs at the farewell Gossip Girl Festival

Chase Straight is the Music Community Manager for Metavese Mod Squad

Warner Bros.’ Gossip Girl sims, also known as the Upper East Side, have been operating in Second Life for the last two years, the longest running corporate marketing campaign in virtual world history. With GossipGirl being the most popular last name in SL, and the sim boasting a 55% return rate (compared with 10% for the rest of Second Life), it is easily the most successful campaign as well. So when the members of this strong community learned of it’s impending closure over a week ago, they were heartbroken.

Admittedly holding back tears as she typed, Khai GossipGirl explains of the sims, “I’m really sad they’re leaving, it’s the only place like it in SL and nothing will ever be quite as good as GG.”

The Metaverse Mod Squad immediately went to work finding a place for the community to transition to, landing a secret location two weeks prior to closure, to ensure that the community had a place to land after closure.   And while the residents knew the good times weren’t going to last forever, we at the Metaverse Mod Squad were determined to give the community an action packed last week filled with events, contests, and live performers. I asked our CEO Amy Pritchard why it was so important for us to throw such a blowout ending week for the community.

“I couldn’t give them gold watches,” she replied smiling.

It was a week-long party of the likes that Gossip Girl has never seen before. Usually the sims have three to four events a day put on by members of the Mod Squad and Gossip Girl officers, with live DJs three times a week and regular live performers. Metaverse Mod Squad upped the ante and scheduled  DJs and performers at each and every event during the week, with about 1000L$ given away each day for contest prizes. It was incredible week with record attendance and some great feedback from the community.

“Ya’ll could just as easily not done anything special, but instead MMS made the last week of Gossip Girl really great,” secondlifename GossipGirl tells me over text chat, adding “it was a positive reinforcement of their awesomeness. All the mods that showed up who haven’t been here in a while makes it seem like they will miss Gossip Girl as much as we will.”

Tera Tilden, the project manager for Gossip Girl, who mods in-world as Harp Thursday says she never realized she could build such great bonds over the internet. After spending almost two years working in the sim, she says its like releasing her kids out into the “real world.”

“I never sat down and thought about me, really. I wanted to make sure everyone else had a great last week,” she said.

Gossip Girls celebrate their last night in the sim at an over-capacity goodbye party

Gossip Girls celebrate their last night in the sim at an over-capacity goodbye party

To end the final ten days of Gossip Girl, the Mod Squad threw an all day festival Monday with games, rides and vendors like Modd G, Doux Petit Dahl, With Sugar on Top, and many more. It was a celebration of all things Gossip Girl. Every vendor featured during the festival came to Second Life as a Gossip Girl, showing off the diverse talents of the community. Also, characters from the television show came in all at once for a meet and greet, delighting all the Gossip Girl fans. Residents hobnobbed with the avatars of Chuck Bass, Nate Archibald, Jenny and Dan Humphrey, Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen

The night capped off with a four performer concert series starting at 5pm. Maxx Sabretooth took the stage first, followed by CelticMaidenWarrior, Taunter Goodnight, and ending in a psychadelic particle fest from Thumper Boucher. It was an amazing event to be a part of, with as many as 60 people in attendance for the concerts at one time.

Thumper Boucher first came to the sim when he was contacted to replace a performer who had cancelled. He ended his career in Gossip Girl on the same note, coming to the rescue to finish off a concert filling in for a cancelled performer. Having played a scheduled gig in Gossip Girl the previous week, he was a big name in the final festivities. Boucher says he’s going to miss the sims as he’s always had a great time performing for the Gossip Girls.

“It was hearbreaking for sure. It’s a great build and a great bunch of people. It’s a shame when something with such a homey feel goes into the recycling bin for the server,” he tells me.

While the sims may be going down for good, the community is set to thrive in a new sim that the Metaverse Mod Squad has secured for them. The new place will include reproductions of some of the favorite spots of Gossip Girl, and the community members will be keeping the party going with morning coffee and regular events. The sim is going to be revealed shortly after this post, (For you readers it is the Chelsea sim, a region of Virtual London run by Debs Regent) but for now the Gossip Girls relive their favorite memories and share thoughts on what the Upper East Side has meant to them.

Kaira Cornonet shares, “I will forever be thankful for what this sim has done because I have met some of my best friends, both RL and SL, because of this place and they have forever changed my life.”

Ever had those times where you’re sitting around with friends, talking to new people, and you realize that you and your conversation partner went to the same concert a while ago? Boom – instant connection. There is something about live music that has a magical quality to it. Sometimes the music doesn’t even have to be that good (on stereo at least), but the memory of the show will last forever. A website that’s been around since 2007 is beefing up their services to make the live show a way for people to connect. Songkick is taking social networking and music recommendation to a new level, letting users connect with past events and find others interested in the same things.

"What a coincidence! I was acid tripping at the Dead show too!"

"What a coincidence! I was acid tripping at the Dead show too!"

A friend forwarded me an article from Tech Crunch and I immediately started salivating over the idea. Songkick is essentially the IMDB of live shows, catalouging over 1 million shows thus far and continuing to grow their database. For each show, users can add photos, videos and comments on the show. You can also click “I was there” to add the show to your user profile. You can find other users who have gone to some of the same shows you have, as well as “follow” other concert goers whose taste you respect.

What if you can’t find the show you were looking for? Songkick lets users add it to the site, letting the community take an active part in buildingin it’s database. So, even though it came from the mouth of founder Ian Hogarth, calling Songkick the IMDB of live shows is a little unfair because the depth of the site is so much broader than that. For audiophiles, connecting over music tastes is important, and Songkick lets you seek out and connect with other people who share your style. In the end, it saves you the trouble of dragging your lame ass roomate to an indie show he’s never heard of because everyone else you know is saving their money for the next time Nickleback is in town (reference based on a true story).

So, I came across a great blog post on the SL Revolution blog about Second Life’s indie scene and its author was kind enough to let me repost. One of the strongest elements that can be used to drive a virtual world is music and I thought her commentary was an important piece of information related to what my blog is trying to do. Without further ado, here is her post.

Posted in SecondLife® on May 22, 2009 by Daila Holder

When I blog, I try to give the reader a peek into my Second Life viewer and sometimes even a quick glimpse into the inner workings of Daila Holder. My Second Life, like most of yours, is made up of fashion, friendship and fun, but a key element of my time spent in world is music. I always have my stream on, and have been known to be snobby enough to not shop in a store if the music stream is unappealing.

Though unlike most musically motivated avatars, I am not a D.J. I am a connoisseur of others’ hand picked musical selections. I lean toward indie music, and two years ago I discovered my Second Life home away from home: The Velvet

In an environment where clubs can close as quickly as they open, The Velvet has endured. So what is the key to starting and ensuring success of a club in Second Life, and why in a virtual world where fashion, drama and relationships rule, do so many take the time to focus on music? I asked Jed Brimm, Second Life DJ and Jasper Haifisch, Manager and DJ at The Velvet to help me answer those questions.

First a little history about The Velvet from Jasper:

Jasper Haifisch: The Velvet opened its fake doors on October 18, 2006. The club was conceptualized and brought to life by Pushbutton Skolnick. You’ll see her there from time to time socializing and DJing on occasion. About a year after the Velvet opened, she handed the keys over to me so we could keep it going.

And his thoughts on why the club has been successful:

Jasper Haifisch: Pushbutton Skolnick and I joke (I think we’re joking, maybe we’re just kidding ourselves) that we refuse to die. When the club first started, we used a lot of contests and themes to bring people in. That can take a lot of time and work and it eventually fell by the wayside, along with patrons. It took a while, but we’ve built a following back up and it’s all because of the community here. The Velvet exists because of the patrons.

Jed Brimm currently DJs at The Velvet, The Evening Room and others, and his sets are always worth catching. Check his SL profile for more details.

Some Evening Room DJs (Jed is top row, 3rd from left)

Some Evening Room DJs (Jed is top row, 3rd from left)

One of the questions I posed to Jed is:

In a virtual world where fashion, drama and relationships rule, why should someone take the time to focus on music?

Jed Brimm: I don’t think focusing on music excludes any of those things. In fact I would suggest that it complements them. Of course for many people, any or all of those things might be their sole focus. But in my experience music is a great catalyst for bringing people with similar tastes together. In many cases if you share an interest in particular music with someone, you might share other interests as well.
I also think, without getting too psychological, that it’s fair to say that virtual worlds are attractive to people who might be considered introverts. I have friends in SL who are shy even online. They just don’t wander up to people and start conversing. Musical venues are good places for people to come together. They hear something they like, maybe something they know about, they may want to share a story about a concert or a band or whetever. So in that sense, as a social medium, I think it is a good starting off point. Is that its sole purpose? I think most people who play music in SL love the music for its own sake. There might be others, I doubt many, who do it solely for the Lindens. I think there is also a bit of ego gratification involved. You like something, you want others to like it as well. But speaking for myself, the social interaction is the lure. Otherwise I could as easily play the music on my stereo.

Searching For Just the Right Song at Evening Room

Searching For Just the Right Song at Evening Room

So why do clubs like The Velvet and The Evening Room remain my favorite places to teleport into? The music baby, it’s all about the music. With 23 regular DJs, who, according to Jasper, “are given carte blanche for the most part”, you are sure to hear a set you enjoy. You can check out a current Velvet schedule here

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