Welcome to the opening article in this mini-series focusing on Community in the context of MILEs!
Theory around social dynamics is a topic that would far exceed the scope of a few articles. As a result, we will shortcut the process by focusing on examples and takeaways from these as an opening into the topic here and in the next article explore basic points around the theory.
The examples we will explore here are:
- The Village Fair – a Classic Participant Experience
- r/Place – a Modern Participant Experience
- Twitch Plays Pokemon – an early MILE
- Sky’s Aurora concert – a communal digital concert
To start – Genvid focuses on the digital space but it’s important to see how people gather at real-life events to see what we can learn transitioning into the interactive streaming space. A counter-intuitive and less talked about example is the Village Fair, one of the most time-lasting examples of a community gathering together.
|The Village Fair||Learning|
|The fair is built around life in the area and reflects the community||Build experiences to service the community’s needs / expectations|
|People can interact at their desired level of comfort, and have the space to create emergent content (eg. handling a stall)||Create ways to participate at different levels of interactivity|
|Participants can opt in / opt out at will during the experience||The ability to join and leave is critical|
|Various activities to appeal to all ages / motivations||Remember to consider a variety of motivations in activity design|
The Village Fair is very much rooted in the local, with people who know each other. r/Place is almost its antithesis in the domain – a digital participant experience that reunites strangers in an open manner. And yet, it does not fall into chaos and becomes a constructive experience where each person can find their space.
|Access to a restricted color palette (16 or 32 colors) aids community engagement||Limiting the number of possible interactions increases engagement (with restrictions come creativity)|
|Enough space is present for all groups to enjoy the “playground”||Each participant having the ability to choose how they can affect the event is meaningful|
|Visual medium allows for cross-cultural communication||The use of a universal language / memes is important within participatory experiences|
|You can participate as part of a group rather than start something new||Participation can be aided with “joining” (faction, goal, etc.)|
Twitch Plays Pokemon
Twitch Plays Pokemon came before r/Place and is essentially the prime example of an early MILE. Once again, it’s about strangers in the digital space coming together to accomplish the same overt outcome, with its beauty in the journey’s moments.
|Twitch Plays Pokémon||Learning|
|1.17M Chatters, 9M+ Viewers |
Ie. 13% participation rate
|Chat is a limited participation tool for audiences; AND|
Users don’t need to participate to enjoy the experience
|Slow gameplay with limited inputs||The experience is pre-built for multi-input & latency delays|
|Iconic older title with repetition creates community memes (“Praise Helix”)||Lower variety of outcomes suffices as audiences latch on to salient points|
Sky’s AURORA Concert
The AURORA concert in Sky: Children of the Light was an event that ran at the end of 2022 / start of 2023 and is worth looking at, in part because it highlights a key difference between digital and real-world spheres.
|Sky’s AURORA Concert||Learning|
|Maintains real-world parallel by focusing on the experience and social bonding over material in-game rewards||What humans seek does not differ whether they go online or to a physical location (although what needs get fulfilled may)|
|Cannot replicate the physical energy components of a concert||We should acknowledge and consider that some elements will not transition from physical to digital|
|Simple digital interactions that are easy to engage with||Unlike physical events, we can leverage digital tools to increase accessibility and the audiences we attract|
We hope this initial reflection into the topic has been of interest to you, with the next two articles in the series to arrive later. You are welcome to come into our Discord server to discuss further with the team at Genvid!