I attended a virtual conference a few months ago called PAX:Online. PAX is one of the largest series of gaming conventions in the US, and as you can imagine, they haven’t held one in-person since March (they normally would have hosted four more in this calendar year).
However, their production team is at the top of the field in creativity. They proceeded to run an entirely online “convention” which attracted well over 20,000 people to interact in widely varied digital spaces.
One of the most amazing parts for me was their use of the social-media system Discord. Discord used to be primarily for voice chat while videogaming, but is now much more broadly used for all kinds of social interactions.
I could go on and on about all the innovations I saw, but I’ll just share my favorite for now.
The PAX Online “server” had different sub-channels, essentially chat rooms, where participants could interact-- and the production team designed bots so that when users typed specific commands (like “!look”), the bot would reply and describe an imaginary room to that user. The user could then go interact with different things in that imaginary room! And the more you explored, the more little emojis you unlocked for your username. Silly, but incredibly fun, and really helped users engage with the convention as a para-physical event.
Could we map this over to churches? Para-church ministries? Events?
How/when would you introduce it?
(These are not rhetorical questions I’m curious-- what pitfalls do you see? How would we make this work?)