How to Create Online Social Spaces With Gather

Gather is a unique social platform for meetups in the virtual world. You and your friends create avatars and jump into a 2D map of a café, office, or anything other space you want. There you can work, chat, or even play games.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to organize a space and event on Gather. Get to know what the process involves and handy tips on making it all work for your social needs.

1. Choose and Name a New Space

Once you’ve set up your free or paid account on Gather, you’ll reach your dashboard with a Create a new space button in the bottom left corner. Click it and you get a selection of map templates to choose from, depending on the number of people your account can accommodate.

If a grand park, conference hall, or space station doesn’t fit the bill, however, you can start from scratch with a blank map. You can build your very own space, just the way you want it. Keep in mind that you can customize existing templates too.

After picking your template, you need to name the space, state why you want it, and decide whether you want to protect it with a password. Finally, click Create space.

Read more: What Is Gather? The Virtual Meetup Platform Explained

2. Set Up Your Avatar, Video, and Audio

The next step asks you to enable your microphone and camera, as well as choose your 2D avatar. For the latter, click Edit character to open a panel, where you type in your name and choose the avatar’s appearance.

While the range of looks isn’t very expansive, it’s quite satisfying and updated regularly. When you’re happy with your settings, click Join the gathering and let your space load.

3. Check and Edit Your Social Space

The first thing you want to do after landing on your map is to inspect it. Use the arrow or WASD keys to walk around and X to interact with available objects. Get a feel for the layout and think about what might need changing.

For example, if you want to use Gather for fun but professional meetings, don’t ignore key tips for online video conferencing. You could have your avatars suited up, links to projects or videos embedded on whiteboards, and maybe some communication rules.

To add items or adjust the map itself, select the Build icon on the left-hand toolbar. From there, you have three options: choose premade objects, upload your own, and edit in Mapmaker mode.

Choosing Objects

In terms of objects, you have many available, from furniture and appliances to planters and sound emitters, producing different kinds of audio to create an atmosphere. Your items can be purely decorative or interactive in the following ways:

  • Launching a website.
  • Opening an uploaded image.
  • Playing a video from YouTube, Vimeo, and so on.
  • Making a call to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and so on.
  • Opening a note.

Each function has a few advanced options to choose from too, so Gather’s customization tools really are extensive. Get creative with your décor and interactions to keep your friends or colleagues engaged.

Editing Your Map

There are even deeper changes you can make to your online social space. By going into Mapmaker, you have access to various editing tools that can completely transform the map’s effects. Consider bringing in a friend to help design it.

The Stamp function, for example, lets you add tiles that do specific things when an avatar steps on them, like creating a private connection between people standing on the same kind of tile. Another effect lets you broadcast to everyone in the room or jump to a different space on Gather.

You also have the Walls & Floors tool, currently in beta form. As the name suggests, you can edit the map’s structural appearance. The effect isn’t that impressive yet, but it can enhance the user experience in its own little way.

4. Invite People and Set Up Events

Back on your space’s main page, you’ll find the Invite button. When you select it, you can either send an email with the invitation or copy the link and share it with people. You need to also decide when the link should expire, from the next hour to never.

You can also integrate iCal and save the date, perfect for work-related events. iOS users invited to a social space can quickly put it in their calendars and avoid forgetting. If you’re organizing several meetups at different times, all visitors could use planning apps to keep track of tasks.

On the day, everyone will show up as their characters and through their video feeds, just like any online conferencing platform. You can chat with all the people present at the same time or with people near your avatar. The map’s tile effects contribute to how the space functions.

5. Adjust Your Settings

The final part of Gather you may want to check out is your Settings as a user and administrator of the space, available through the gear icon on the left.

You can change the password or prepare messages for people to see upon entering. You can enable or disable features like the invite button, screenshare option, and build mode. For big events, consider inviting people to help you manage the space too as owners and moderators.

This is also where you can shut down the space when you don’t need it anymore. If you get a premium package, you’ll have access to more settings that can fine-tune your experience on the social platform.

Socializing in 2D Is the Next Best Thing

It could be that the social networks we know and love are too similar to stand out from each other. Instagram and Twitter can add new features and rekindle some excitement for a while, but Gather’s 2D graphics and broad capabilities offer something new and refreshing.

It’s no accident that gamers have a hard time letting go of classic 2D mechanics in favor of more modern productions. Combine the charm of simple simulation gaming with efficient tools for casual and professional online meetups and you can see why Gather’s popularity is steadily growing.

Author: Electra Nanou

Source: Electra Nanou.” How to Create Online Social Spaces With Gather”. Retrieved From https://www.makeuseof.com/how-to-create-online-spaces-gather/

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