Welo – Connect, Collaborate and Create wherever you are. Welo – Connect, Collaborate and Create wherever you are. Go beyond online meetings

Go Back

Online communities have changed the way we connect, learn, share ideas, move to action, and find support. From forums to social media platforms, we rely on these digital spaces for having vibrant virtual communities. Yet, even with established platforms offering profiles, message threads, along with scheduled videoconference meetings, there may be something vital missing there.

Yet, with the tremendous power of these platforms, there is a unique universal need for new complementary capability to dramatically enhance the value community members and sponsors through rich shared live experiences.

Profiles and message threads are valuable, but they can’t replicate the continuous flow of interaction that makes real-world communities so vibrant. We might crave deeper connection and the ability to engage spontaneously, anytime – a sense of belonging that current platforms struggle to fully provide.

While existing online community platforms offer valuable tools, there’s a growing recognition that they don’t fully satisfy our social needs. This sentiment can be traced to a few factors:

  • Information Overload and Fatigue: The relentless stream of messages, threads, and notifications can be overwhelming, leading to a sense of disconnection rather than belonging. As Jenny Odell, author of “How to Do Nothing,” notes, “[Social media] platforms are built to capture attention by whatever means necessary, making them terrible environments for that which requires it most: thinking and relating” (Source: The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/30/books/review/jenny-odell-how-to-do-nothing.html)
  • Lack of Spontaneous Connection: Prevalent communication models emphasize scheduled events and broadcasts, limiting opportunities for the casual, serendipitous encounters that form the backbone of real-world communities. Sociologist Ray Oldenburg coined the term “third places” to describe social environments outside of home and work where people gather informally (Source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place). Online spaces need to bridge the gap and facilitate these organic interactions.
  • Surface-Level Interactions: Text-based communication and videoconferencing often prioritize information exchange over genuine presence and the nuances of nonverbal communication. As Sherry Turkle, professor at MIT, observes, “We are tempted to think that our little ‘sips’ of online connection add up to a big gulp of real conversation. But they don’t.” (Source: The TED Interview: https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together)

Virtual Spaces: Filling the Void

Virtual spaces address these gaps by focusing on experiences, presence, and spontaneous interactions. They allow us to move beyond profiles and timelines, fostering those informal conversations and shared activities that make communities feel vibrant and alive.

At Welo, we believe that virtual spaces hold the key to unlocking the full potential of online communities. Let’s delve into how virtual spaces transcend traditional communication tools and why they could be the foundation of thriving online communities.

The Drawbacks of Videoconferencing: Activities Take a Backseat

While videoconferencing brings us face-to-face, it often feels centered around presentations and scheduled talks. This can make it challenging to foster the kind of dynamic, participatory activities that truly bring communities to life. In contrast, virtual spaces are designed to host a wide range of experiences – think games, workshops, collaborative projects – putting engaging activities at the forefront.

Misconceptions and the Promise of Spatial Computing

Many have preconceived notions about virtual spaces and spatial computing, often associating them with clunky headsets or complicated technology. The reality is that virtual spaces, like those offered by Welo, are designed to be warm, welcoming, and accessible through standard web browsers and mobile devices.

To understand the potential of this revolution, let’s look back. The first video call took place in the 1960s, the first internet message board arose in the 1970s, and the first internet chat message was sent in the 1980s. These technologies, once revolutionary, are now commonplace. Spatial computing stands poised to follow the same trajectory, becoming an integral part of our digital lives.

The Upside for Online Communities

With virtual spaces, online communities tap into a new dimension of connection and engagement:

  • Immersive Activities: Move beyond webinars and presentations.
    • Virtual Networking Events: Create informal spaces built around themes or interests, allowing for natural breakout conversations and connections.
    • Collaborative Workshops: Problem-solve in real-time using virtual whiteboards, brainstorming tools, and spaces for collaborative projects.
    • Interactive Skill-Building Sessions: Host hands-on demonstrations, simulations, and role-playing exercises within the virtual space.
    • Team-Building Experiences: Organize virtual scavenger hunts, escape rooms, or other fun challenges that foster collaboration and camaraderie.
  • Enhanced Situational Awareness and Agency: Virtual spaces offer a heightened sense of being present with others. You have agency over your movement and how you project information, be it through your avatar’s appearance or via the content you choose to share within the space. This creates a richer context for understanding and interacting, fostering a stronger sense of social connection.
  • Organic Interaction: Encourage impromptu conversations, serendipitous encounters, and the kinds of connections that happen naturally in physical spaces.
  • Accessibility and Inclusivity: Virtual spaces can bridge geographic divides and create a welcoming environment for people from all backgrounds.

Welo: Building on a Strong Foundation

We acknowledge the importance of established communication platforms. Profiles, message threads, and chats provide valuable building blocks, but Welo takes the community experience to a new level through the power of virtual spaces.

If you’re ready to see your online community flourish, we invite you to explore Welo by dropping in to Welo HQ. Experience the difference that warm, immersive spaces can make in fostering connection and deepening engagement.

Copy link