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Monday, August 30, 2010

Eclectic Charisma News - Little London: From Brink of Elimination to Community-Built Success - Shon Charisma Reporting...

Staff Reporter
• Monday, August 30, 2010

You have two weeks to come up with money for tiers or you will lose your sim. What do you do? If you're Little London, you redesign your space and get majorly involved with your community.

Little London, one of the best London sims on Second Life found themselves at a make-or-break moment nearly three months ago when they were faced with closure due to lack of funds. Created two years ago by Katrina Pascale, Little London is based on real life London, from its Big Ben to its rail system. Steve Rumsford, Minister for Events in LL, took me on a tour of Little London and explained to me the wonderful and swift transformation of the sim that kept it alive...and thriving.

The sim's crisis point occurred three months ago when Rumsford and others logged into the sim and realized there was music. Directly following that, they learned that the sim would close by the end of the month. Rumsford noted that tier prices were OK, but the constant updating of the sim was becoming expensive. "We had to add new features that were costly, like buildings and such," he stated. "New rentals and furniture were high on the list and then adding things like the town rail system, sim advertising, and media stream were high-priced, too."

With two weeks to come up with tiers and to find a way to not only make the next tier but also to create a structure that would enable the sim to continue on, Pascale and those close to the sim had to pull together their resources and work hard, harder than ever before.

To lift the burden from Pascale, a council was created--four ministers as part of the London City Council to help run the sim: Katrina Pascale, leader of the council; Starbuck Jinx, Ministerial Councillor; Steve Rumsford, Minister for Events; and Morath Landfall, Citizens Representative.

But that was only the beginning. Many things needed to be done, and one of the biggest things was the restructuring of the sim: adding new buildings, restructuring rental spaces (from 50L a week rentals to luxury houses at 1500L), designing new spaces. And Pascale took on the task alone and has done a miraculous job at it in such a short span of time. For instance, she created the Big Ben in just two days. When I mentioned my astonishment at the accomplishment, Rumsford reiterated that EVERYTHING was redesigned: "I mean everything. Shops, role play area, club, pub -- all by Kat alone."

In addition to divvying up responsibilities and redesigning the sim, the key members also agreed to take on certain rentals to keep the sim open. For example, Jinx took on the pub and Rumsford took on the club and shop. All key members took high-price rentals.

And although all of these things were integral to the success of Little London's growth, what has been the most significant component to their growth has been their community building. A question they constantly asked was "How can we draw people in...and more importantly, keep them coming back or better yet, staying?"

Word of mouth was key as all sim members told everyone about Little London. They also hosted several advertised events, like dance contests, Sci-Fi night, singles night at the bar, to draw in people. People like Jinx, Helenn Bailey, and Aleria Darkrose were generous in donating their time and effort in supporting the sim, too. "Once people came in," Rumsford said, "we showed them around and welcomed them," a move that endeared newcomers to the locale, so much so that the level of traffic has increased ten-fold since the restructuring of the sim. Jinx, Magrath Aeon, and Stephanie Asalia, according to Rumsford, were a big part of the community effort to revitalize Little London.

Although money was tight, they were able to find avenues to advertise; Rumsford states they owe a lot to a London paper named London Lite for writing an article on Little London and their Beatles Rock event. "From being on deaths door to having an article in CNN's iReport is a big transformation," Rumsford added.

The Beatles show was highly successful, drawing over 40 people, the sim's biggest crowd yet. They're hoping to raise that number with their next big event, The AC/DC Tribute Act on Sunday, September 26, 2010, at 12 p.m. SLT.

If you ever wanted to see London and take in its ambience, you owe yourself a TP over to Little London.

In just one afternoon, I found myself entranced with the place, and after a ride on the rail system, I was a bit hooked--hooked enough to set up a little abode to "vacation" at.

If you'd like to know more about Little London, you can contact Katrina Pascale or Starbuck Jinx in world.

To visit Little London, here's a SLURL.


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