I say I am not an evangelist because I am not interested in selling or persuading or promoting. But I am an advocate.
I advocate using spatial media as an instrument of personal connection and relationships, not just as a vehicle for selling stuff to consumers.
The way I advocate for a way of using media is to use media that way myself. When video cameras capable of recording a full 360 degree image for less than $500 appeared in 2016, I bought one and started using it. When the Oculus Go headset appeared in 2018, I could load it up with my own immersive video.
Oculus Go for Old People, Part One, June 28, 2018
I began writing this series on Medium in the hopes it would arouse the interest of other old people. I wrote ten of them, until the Go was replaced by the Quest.
The articles were very popular and helped me gain many Followers. I’m not sure if they got anybody into VR.
I’m not so old that I need virtual reality because I can’t do anything in the actual one any more. Maybe I will someday, but for now, VR is a way for me to stay engaged, an endless source of projects that interest me, that I can work on by myself or with others, both of which I am doing.
VR Isn’t What You Think It Is, August 23, 2020
I had a plan to produce great 360 video in Cambodia and show it to supporters of Cambodian Living Arts and anyone else in VR.
Then the pandemic happened.
Instead of traveling to Cambodia, I began meeting with my Cambodian friends in VR. Pretty soon we figured out how to produce musical shows on a new virtual stage.
I also began hosting events within my son’s VR community, EvolVR, finding a level of openness and sharing that VR really seemed conducive to.
Right now, Virtual Reality is still becoming. Right now, you could have an idea for a VR event you’d like to run or a show you’d like to produce in VR and just do it. People will come. My son wondered what VR meditation would be like — now he leads meditation groups with people from all over the world three times a week in three different VR places.
There are no gatekeepers. It will not always be this way.
I think that most people vaguely see VR as something like 3D TV. Wherever TV shows come from now, that’s where VR will come from, only they’ll be 3D, which is cool.
It is cool, but it’s actually even cooler. The 3D part turns out to be a second-level matter. That’s not what keeps me going back. What keeps me going back is people. Not stories about people, elegantly crafted at professional billing rates. Just people.
VR Is Not Stalled, October 20, 2020
By October, 2020, I had been leading sessions on death and bereavement for months — and we were producing live music from Phnom Penh for a worldwide audience. Possibilities that I had not imagined in 2019 were daily life in 2020.
When people say VR is stalled, what they are really saying is, there is no sufficiently aggregated mass market, yet (because it is assumed to be inevitable), that can be objectified and commodified and targeted in order to sell stuff.
Aw, too bad. What a disappointment.
You can see it in the headset packaging. Logos of the familiar brands, implicitly telling us as we unbox our new device that we are meant to consume content from the same old same old, and pay for it.
Virtual Reality Is Not a Game, November 10, 2020
Early November, 2020 was a peak period in the United States, or at least it seemed that way at the time.
Many new people were finding VR every day and they were also finding comfort in the social gatherings and meet-ups.
I wrote my most explicit piece yet about the serious new worlds and social relations we are building in virtual environments. Calling it a game is insulting.
The gigantic hierarchical institutions that once organized our world are losing influence. The stories they tell to keep things on track aren’t working very well any more.
New networks are forming, new ways of organizing, driven by new narratives of what can be done. Virtual Worlds are where we will go to be with people from anywhere, to build trust, and consider things that matter with others.