I’ve bumped into a few different takes on virtual spaces in the past few months, thought I’d share a few:
Sprout (https://sprout.place): Sort of a scrapbook-meets-chat room vibe. What I think is interesting about this is that it recognizes that modern communication is often messy, with a variety of mixed media and different attention spans.
Skittish (https://skittish.com): This one is made by Andy Baio (who also runs Waxy, founded Upcoming, and is one of the organizers behind XOXO), and takes the idea of a virtual space quite literally. One of the neat things about this one (aside from the cute event spaces and avatars) is that it uses spatial audio, so if you need to have a quiet conversation with one or two people, you can literally move your avatars away from others and do so, without actually leaving the space or switching to another room.
WFH.FM (https://wfh.fm): This is less about communication and more about shared vibes. It lets you create a space you can then share with others (with or without the edit code to let others also add to it), where you can add various bits of media, gifs, videos, music. Like Sprout, it has a sort of scrapbook thing going on.
Hopin (https://hopin.com): This is a bit more of a traditional approach to virtual spaces, so more like a series of chat rooms that have video integration (both streaming talks, and also for group video). The most recent Write the Docs event used it, and I think it was pretty effective overall (no real hiccups that I could tell, though I wasn’t privy to the behind the scenes).
Crows Developer Conference (and again in 2021): Okay, SO. This feels more like Old Internet™ than anything I’ve seen in ages. The development team at Crows Crows Crows made an “alternative to GDC” during the pandemic, complete with talks and art installations and people roaming around a weird, weird 3d virtual space. I haven’t checked to see if it’s still running, but you can at least go read the promo emails and get a sense of what it was all about. The other spaces I listed are, y’know, usable/useful for y’all, but I had to include this one as well.
Anyway, just wanted to share a few services for folks to check out. There are plenty more out there if you bother to look – these are just a few I’ve personally bumped into lately. Virtual spaces: they’re not just chatrooms! They’re not just games! They’re not just commercialized saccharine sanitized corpo-shit!