Crossroads: Into the OVC – Which way now?

29 Mar 2011

Author: Tim

This is written especially for those of you who have recently arrived in this wonderful, glamorous, delightfully rambunctious cyber-playground that is the OVC, the Online Vampire Community.

Let me ask you something, do you know why you’ve come here? Is it because you really dig vampires? Do you want to find out all about vampires? Do you want to know if vampires exist, are real? Do you believe that you might be a modern living Vampire?

Do you want to immerse yourself in something that is radically different because your “reality” is not all you want it to be?

Whatever your reasons for being here, Welcome.

Sincerely, welcome. Like any other community this one thrives on the influx of new people, new ideas and new perspectives but also, like any other community, you are going to need to find your way around so that you don’t get swamped in the maelstrom that is the OVC. Entering any new community is like starting a new job, or going to a new school. You want to be accepted for who and what you are. You want people who will listen and, hopefully, give you encouragement and support. It’s always a difficult thing to fit into a new social group and the easiest way you can approach it is by looking and listening, or in this case reading, first.

 

There are a myriad “real vampire” groups to choose from. If you Google the term, ‘real vampire groups’ you will get about 770,000 results in 0.17 seconds. That’s a lot of information to sift through to pick the ‘good apples’ from the ‘bad apples’, so to speak. The best tactic, I would suggest, is to see if any of your friends or net-friends have got recommendations. Anyone who has been around the OVC for a time will know the better places, and the not so good ones. People you know are your first, best, source of advice.

Failing that, start with two or three of the groups at the top of the Google search because they are, by virtue of their position in the search engine lists, the most frequented. Once you arrive at these groups then join one or more, hey… you have to take the plunge sometime right? Go along into the forums or discussion areas and take a look at what’s there, particularly the “hot” topic or the “featured” topics. These are the ones with the most input from group members. Go into the discussion and look at what the discussion consists of, look at the replies, the tone of the discussion and the “manner” of the discussion.

I have been in the OVC for around ten years now and in that time I have been involved with up to forty or so groups at times; I have recommendations to make that I will leave with you at the end of this piece. I also have my dislikes, no different to anybody else in the community. The truth of the matter is you will find a great difference between how different groups are run.

You will find groups with large memberships (in the hundreds) but only have the same ten or twenty in and about on anything approaching a regular basis. You will find groups that have “Rules”, “Regulations” or “Codes of Conduct” that they expect their members to abide by – take a look in their forums and see whether or not they actually enforce or regularly monitor and control members who break those rules. This can tell you a lot about the management of the group, whether they are actually concerned with the rank and file membership or, are the leaders of the group oblivious and only concerned with their own agenda and projects.

See whether the discussions are kept “on track” or whether they deteriorate into ‘slanging’ matches between respondents and sink further into the abyss of personal insult and abuse. These groups are, most likely, not what you are looking for since they often treat newcomers or “newbies” with some measure of disdain if not downright scorn.

You will also find groups who will welcome you warmly, as long as you purchase their “Teachings” or “Bible”. If you wish to part with money to make you feel more like you belong, that is your choice but don’t be fooled into thinking that because you part with money that you will find the “truth”. Everybody has their ‘version’ of the truth and the best thing you can do is read what’s available, think about it, ask questions and form your own opinion.

You will find groups that are ruled with the proverbial “iron fist”, they will tell you that you, along with everyone else who wishes to learn, are welcome. What they really mean is that, “You are welcome as long as you keep your opinion to yourself and don’t challenge what we say.”

You will find places run by the four-hundred year old Lord BloodU Fangstreek or some such, they will promise you the “dark secrets” and probably eternal life/ love etc. etc. – trust me, stay clear.

You’re probably thinking, by now, “geez, isn’t there a decent one among them?” well, the good news is, yes, there are. There are a number of reputable sites that will give you the help, encouragement and welcome that you need to feel comfortable coming into the “new school”. They are groups that are made up of diverse individuals from all corners of the world and who are, to one degree or another, committed to helping the newcomers find their way and become settled.

There are groups where the staff and administrators run a good “ship” and know when to allow leeway and when to head-off trouble and these are the sorts of places you need to look for.

One of the best places that I have ever found is a web-board in the Yuku system called Smoke and Mirrors.

Owned by Lady CG, a long time member of the VC and OVC, who is a published author in matters vampiric, and ably managed by HellKat and her staff, Smoke and Mirrors offers a comfortable, welcoming and resource packed place for the newcomer… and even some of the older hands, to find sensible information and sound discussion on a whole range of issues and interests.

Another invaluable resource is the website of SphynxCatVP. Her Real Vampires Support page has long been regarded as one of the most influential and sound resources on the web in the matter of real vampires.

Above all, in and around the VC/OVC, keep your wits about you and take everything with a pinch of salt. Above all, remember, there are dangerous elements to any society; elements that result in such as the Carly Ryan case and the Timothy White “vampire slayer” case where, ( See: CBS 47 Jacksonville, March 15 2004) according to police, 35-year-old White entered a westside pizza shop on Normandy Boulevard around 8pm. He told the employees he was a vampire slayer and then, allegedly, shot store employee David Harrison. Harrison was taken to Shands Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries.
White was arrested in a nearby church parking lot. White had a knife, a sawed off shotgun and three pistols with him.

Such cases, while they are by no means in the majority as the media may have us believe, are there. My advice? Start with the two links I have provided and you will find your feet safely and quickly.

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