Update: For a full list of grids’ social media links, calendars, and forums, please see our Active OpenSim Grids List.
Google Plus used to be a favorite place for grids and event organizers and residents to post announcements and discuss topics of interest to the community.
Now that’s gone, it’s harder to keep track of what’s happening in OpenSim, with news scattered in hundreds of different communities, forums, calendars, and different social media platforms.
Facebook and Twitter dominate, with newcomer MeWe gaining ground among community members. But there are also OpenSim-specific sites, like OpenSim World and the just-launched 2Do site, as well as individual grid websites, blogs and calendars.
The best place to look for events on the hypergrid is OpenSim World’s Upcoming Events.
OpenSim World is also the top place to showcase regions, and a free beacon and HUD is available from on the OpenSim World region on OSgrid, hypergrid address hg.osgrid.org:80:OpenSimWorld.
“My weekly Monday parties are posted in OpenSim World,” said Chimerus grid owner SkyFlier NorthStar. The event listing is associated with the region it’s on, Chimerus Welcome.
The OpenSim World events can also be fed into an aggregation site, like the brand-new site 2Do.
2Do Hypergrid Events
After HYPEevents shut down a few months ago, Speculoos grid owner Olivier van Helden decided to fork its code and relaunch the platform as 2Do Hypergrid Events.
“The events display shows the next 16 events, links to the website for the full detailed list, and allow to teleport directly from the board”, van Helden told Hypergrid Business. “The events are collected from several sources of different formats, including two dozens of grids and OpenSImWorld.”
It’s a brand new site, and there still might be bugs, he admitted.
“The roadmap is growing as fast as I code,” he said. “I keep finding possible improvements at each fix. At the top of the list, there are interfaces for some CMS, in-world multi-column display, maybe with a filter by category.”
He also said he plans to add images to the listings, and support for in-world search.
People who want to add individual events should post them to OpenSim World, van Helden said, and the system will automatically pick them up. Grid owners who want their calendars added to the list, and already have their calendars in a compatible format like iCal or Google Calendar, can email van Helden directly at [email protected]. More information is on the site, in the”PAQ” section.
The feed can be easily embedded in an in-world display, with live hypergrid links. Or you can buy the 2Do event listing board on the Kitely Market for $1.
The site is less a destination in and of itself as much as an aggregation service of listings from all the grid calendars and OpenSim World events, but it should be extremely useful for anyone looking to find upcoming events.
Another new option with OpenSim users is MeWe. You do have to be a member to access the listings, but once you sign up, you’ll find a number of familiar groups, including OpenSim Virtual, The Adult Metaverse, Fashionistas of the Hypergrid, Metaworld, and Metaverse Authors.
“Since the demise of Google Plus, we have been using MeWe,” said 3rd Rock Grid board member Tara Dockery, also known as Thoria Millgrove in world.
“Events of community interest, including shows, are generally announced on both MeWe and Facebook,” she told Hypergrid Business.
High-profile members include Talla Adam of Metaverse Traveller, Selby Evans of Virtual Outworlding, Leighton Marjoram of the Out and Proud Grid, Mal Burns of Metaworld Broadcasting, Nara Malone of Nara’s Nook, Luna Lunaria of the Lunaria Emporium,
MeWe also makes it easy to see photos, videos, and events associated with the groups you follow, and get updated on new posts. The platform reported that it had more than 4 million members in March,
However, none of the posts are accessible to the general public. If you want to tell your friends about something posted in MeWe, they have to sign up first. That makes it difficult to use the platform for social sharing.
In October, MeWe tweeted that it will have public pages “later this fall.” That month, CEO Mark Weinstein also said on Reddit that public posts are coming. ” Before the end of the year we are also launching ‘Open Posts’ on MeWe which will allow all MeWe members to use their profiles as public facing with the ability to make public posts and have followers on their profiles too.” He added that in “early 2019” the open posts will be indexable and searchable by search engines and visible to the public.
“Most importantly we are committed to protecting our members and their data, so we are carefully exploring how best to do this,” he said.
If they fix the lack of public access, MeWe will be a very solid and usable alternative to Facebook for OpenSim communities.
Some grids and communities have been experimenting with Discord, which is a text and voice chat platform — kind of like Skype, but specifically oriented towards gaming communities.
Hypergrid Explorers and Creators has a Discord group, for example, one of the biggest OpenSim-related ones on the platform.
The group is a home for general OpenSim discussion, but it also has a number of sub-channels — including ones for Kitely, Craft, DigiWorldz, Encore Escape, FrancoGrid, Discovery, Great Canadian Grid, Littlefield, Metropolis, OSgrid, Tangle, Tranquility, and 3rd Rock Grid. But most have hardly any activity. The Kitely sub-channel for example, has only had one post in the last three months.
As with MeWe, you have to be a member of Discord to access a community, and you also have to be an invited member of the particular group. This isn’t always easy to figure out — I had to ask for a second invite to get into Hypergrid Explorers and Creators before it took.
To invite new people to your Discord group, you need to click on the down arrow next to the group name — at the top left of the screen, and then click on “Invite People.” You’ll get a link that you can share. Make sure to check “Set this link to never expire” if you don’t want it to go dead within a day.
“We have a Discord site and it does a lot to keep our members informed,” DreamNation grid owner Waki Janus told Hypergrid Business. “But you have to be a member of DreamNation to join our Discord site. And as you will remember you can’t join DreamNation unless you are referred by an existing member who is in good standing with us.”
DreamNation is currently the most popular closed grid by active monthly users.
“We never used Google for events and don’t miss it,” Janus added.
Nara’s Nook also uses Discord to handle the voice when it holds its meetings in a browser-based version of its grid. You can read more about their browser-based meeting venue in the post Nara’s Nook Launches Greyville in your browser.
Personally, when choosing between MeWe and Discord, I prefer MeWe. It’s significantly easier to navigate and more slightly more accessible than Discord. The sharing link is right there, at the bottom left of every page, and the design is bright and cheerful.
The lack of public access options, however, does make it less useful for communicating with a general audience.
There are about 40 grids in our database that have Facebook pages or groups, making it the single most popular social media platform for OpenSim users.
And since so many people are already on Facebook, it can be a great way to reach new people, to announce events, and to hold discussions. Facebook has been getting a lot of bad press lately, though, and some grids prefer to avoid it on principle.
On a positive note, Facebook makes it very easy to share posts, and if you have a link to a post you can usually just go and see it, without having to sign up first.
OpenSim Virtual is also on Facebook, where it has more than 200 members.
Kitely has both a page and a group on Facebook. Like 3rd Rock and many other grids, it uses multiple communication channels. In addition to its MeWe presence, and its Twitter page it also has a very vibrant community on its own forum, Plus, there’s the company blog for longer posts.
“The viewer login page is publicly accessible and also displays new items recently added to Kitely Market, and new posts published to our forums,” said Ilan Tochner, Kitely’s co-founder and CEO.
Kitely also has a Google Calendar that anyone can subscribe to, or embed on their blog or in their own calendar.
Twitter is a great place to get up-to-the-minute news announcements about grid notices, or to follow favorite personalities. Many grids have Twitter accounts — see the full list at the bottom of this article — and to make it easier, I’ve pulled them all together into the Hypergrid Business OpenSim Grids Twitter List.
Also, check out the Hypergrid Business OpenSim Voices Twitter List for interesting people in the OpenSim community.
There are many OpenSim-related videos on YouTube.
My favorites are Mal Burns’ Metaworld News and Inworld Review videos. He’s got hundreds of subscribers. I used to co-host one of the shows, and still miss it. Anyone want to do another program, about VR, XR, and AI with me?
I also watch Avacon‘s videos — they have a lot of coverage of the OpenSim Community Conferences. And Chic Aeon, with her tutorials. Fred Beckhusen, of Outworldz and Dreamworld fame, also has a YouTube channel with some great content.
Several grids also have their own YouTube channels, including Kitely, MyOpenGrid, OSgrid, 3DLES, Tangle Grid, Tag Grid, DigiWorldz, Discovery Grid, Sacrarium, Eros Resort, Tranquility, and Virtual Ability.
Internet Relay Chat
I remember IRC from back when I was in college, back when computers were still hand-carved out of stone.
Another place to find developers is at the weekly developer outreach meeting at OSgrid, which is held on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific time, at hg.osgrid.org:80:Dev Outreach.
Lots of previous meetings are posted online on the OpenSim Wiki.
For some people, the developer groups are their main way of staying in touch with the OpenSim community.
“I can’t say I am posting to any sites or communities for the time being, with the exception indirectly through mentions in the OpenSim dev meeting chat log,” said XMIR grid founder Geir Nøklebye. He is currently working on a new viewer for OpenSim, called Dayturn, which does have its own community forum — and he does post there, as well.
Dayturn is an alternative to Firestorm that’s designed specifically to work in OpenSim, without all the Second Life-related bells and whistles, and comes in a school-friendly non-RVL version, and also with RLV support for more, um, adult activities. (RLV stands for “Restrained Life Viewer.”)
For many grids, their websites are the main way the use to communicate with the public.
“We keep it simple, everything is done via our website,” said AnonGrid founder Christopher Doyon, also known as Commander X. The only social media the grid uses is Twitter, and the posts are also embedded on the site, he told Hypergrid Business. For sharing information, he also uses Pastebin, where you can find the press release about his next book, American Gestapo.
DynamicWorldz uses its website to share content with the broader community.
“I have recently started a public archive of Magnus Binders free terrains,” said grid owner Danny Cruise. The terrains are available on the grid’s Free Terrains page, and also on the grid’s Terrain Store region, at grid.dynamicworldz.com:8002:Terrain Store.
Grid Links List
Am I missing anything? Email me at [email protected].
I’m also going to add all this information to the Active Grids List, as soon as I write the script to get it out of my database.