--Jasmine Spearing, Marketing Associate
Many of you have met Josie, befriended her, participated in her events, explored her City, Wildwood, and come to her for help and guidance. Now, for the first time, Josie tells us in her own words how she came to be a virtual citizen, and why she is so passionate about her work.
So how did a girl like me end up in a virtual world? Well as I was finding out that the internet was a cool place to research things, play games, and shop online, I also found out that it was a place for people to socialize with each other. Chat rooms had a limited appeal, but my first graphic community opened the doors.
My work and personal obligations ate up most of my creativity and energy, but here was a way to play a bit that fit into my busy schedule. I loved meeting friends from all over the world, and it was great that those friends were there when I had a spare minute to flip the switch and join them online.
So I found myself as part of a virtual community, and a natural response to that was making it more fun! That opened up the net as a creative experience for me. What can we do here? Can we do more? Can we make it more beautiful? More exciting? Those challenges are a call to action for many online citizens. I began with some virtual journalism and moved into an area nearer to my heart. Questing! Problem solving, puzzling, exploring, story telling all rolled into one! I love questing! Blue Mars is the fourth virtual community in which I've worked to develop the questing community and related activities.
I always wanted my own questing island, and now I have one! Wildwood! When I acquired the city, I had a few ideas about what it would become, but I settled on a forest for a few reasons. First, I was practically born in the woods, and I love to spend time there. While not much of a camper, I do love hiking and the beauty of the forest. Second, my father, a lifelong woodsman, is not as active as he once was, and I wanted to make a place for him to explore and visit. Third, it's a heck of a place to work out my questing system and find out what's possible here in terms of making story magic.
Wildwood is meant for fun, not profit, and I hope you enjoy it and share ideas with me on how to make it better. No, I'm not really a developer. I barely model at all, but I found the city building tools are not so bad. I'm still learning how to make things work. I'm pretty much the poster child for a non-graphical person being able to maintain a city. I've got a posse though! DavyRocket has guided me through the early stages and does some modeling for me. Ynaga has been fantastic to develop a hunt system for us, and he's about to launch a cool new questing system too!
Many of you know that I worked for There.com as a staff member. That didn't just come from my online citizenship. My professional background relates to problem solving, data analysis, technical training, program development and assessment, and team building and leadership. My online activities in There and in the other communities gave me insight into online community dynamics and the experience of creating, hosting, and publicizing events. My professional skills helped me understand the nuts and bolts of pulling a team together and developing the volunteer program at There.com while working with the moderation staff and supervising the greeters.
It's challenging to make use of the varied backgrounds and personalities of those who want to help out in such a way that you take advantage of their unique talent sets, maintain a level of consistency and integrity, while helping the team understand that not every member will see a situation the same way.
I'm very excited about the opportunities that we all have in helping Blue Mars grow. It can have much of the charm and fun that we had in There.com. We have great capacity for environmental creation, and we're just beginning to scratch the surface of what we can do with gaming. It will be that place where friends will want to gather and have amazing things to do together.
My task right now is to help fortify the community. We need reasons to collect together. Fun things to do. And most of all, we need a team in place to welcome the new members, explain to them where we are in development, and to show them why it's great to be a Blue Martian!
Visit our Volunteer Program page to learn more about being a Blue Mars Volunteer!