Many factors are involved in the popularity of virtual environment holiday celebrations such as St. Patrick’s Day Online. One of the most important ingredients for success is intelligent persistence. Keep your eyes open for more online worldwide cultural events this year.
St. Patrick’s Day Dublin Virtually Live is the 4th annual St. Patrick’s celebration in a virtual environment. It’s been interesting to note the differences each year. The factors that have changed the least are the superb quality and variety of the entertainment, including staff, music, artists, camaraderie, and special events. The factors that have changed the most are increasing attention and sponsorship, and quality of metrics.
Case in point: Dublin Virtually Live is a recreation of Dublin City online celebrating the music, culture, and business of Ireland. Each year it features live music, concerts, parades, and special events including live holiday simulcasts from real world venues in Dublin, Ireland and New York, New York. How have sponsorship and metrics for these St. Patrick’s Day Online activities evolved?
– Three years ago, Dublin Virtually Live held its first St. Patrick’s Day festivities with no outside sponsorship.
– Two years ago, Discover Ireland, the Ireland National Tourism Bureau, sponsored Dublin Virtually Live St. Pat’s activities.
– One year ago, Visit Dublin, the Dublin City Tourism Bureau, came on board as well.
– This year, Linden Lab Digital Marketing has actively promoted St. Patrick’s Day festivities across all Second Life locations, with prominent lead mention of Dublin Virtually Live.
– Three years ago, Dublin Virtually Live relied on the old “traffic” measure, a mash up number reflecting a combination of visitors and time spent at event. Staff knew “bigger was better.”
– Two years ago, staff added manual Visitor Counters placed at strategic event locations – these gave actual counts of visitors but did not indicate duration of stay. They were susceptible to crashing as soon as the crowds got large. Music streams were monitored as well for numbers of unique listeners. These had the advantage of indicating unique listeners by geographical location but did not count visitors not listening on the stream.
– One year ago, bots were also set up to monitor, total, and report traffic across all three regions. Manual tracking had simply become unmanageable due to numbers of regions and daily visitors. Now staff could create their own mash up numbers but at least they had separate measures for numbers of visitors and time spent at event.
– This year, brand new Heat Map and Unique Visitor Dublin Traffic Displays are in place and all staff have breathed a sigh of relief. Better stats are now more readily available to help keep planning great events. And no personally identifiable information is being collected.
Online Celebration Trends
Many factors are involved in the increasing popularity of online holiday celebrations such as St. Patrick’s Day.
- Online events give us additional fun events to attend. We still go to our favorite real world activities with our real world friends, but we can also check in on our virtual world activities and friends earlier or later in the day.
- Online events also give us the option to check in and participate in popular worldwide cultures we might not otherwise be able to share.
What leads to the success of online holiday celebrations over time? For St. Patrick’s Day, a key factor is certainly the worldwide popularity of Irish culture. But there are other fun cultural festivities out there!
I think one of the most important additional ingredients for online event success must surely be intelligent persistence. As someone once said, “It takes 20 years to be an overnight success.” In the case of Dublin Virtually Live, it took 20 Internet Years (divide by 7 gives 3 Human Years).
Virtual environment festivities are viable and they work. Keep your eyes open for more online worldwide cultural events this year!