Pic. credit ~ http://modeducation.blogspot.com/
In March of last year we presented an article entitled “Into the OVC – Which way now?”, it was an article aimed at newly arrived people, aimed at offering them some preliminary insights of the things to aim for, things to explore and to watch out for when beginning their first forays into the online world of the vampire. People, as newcomers, who might have read that article are no longer “newbies”, they will be coming up to their first anniversary in the OVC and they may well be involved in offline activities in the vampire community as well. Many of them may no longer be participating in the VC/OVC and if that is the case the question has to be asked why?
Allow me to draw a parallel, let’s take the example of a service organization. If the organization is providing, satisfactorily, the service required by its clients then the clients keep coming back. If, on the other hand, the organization is failing to meet the clients expectations then the client will leave and not return; not only that but they may well tell others, “Don’t bother going there, they aren’t any good.” That’s how organizations perish.
During more than ten years in the OVC I have read, and participated in, discussions about every possible and imaginable aspect of the modern vampire reality. Discussions from the folklore and mythology of the vampire to the variety of modern theories for the origin of the modern vampire; from the process of awakening to the sudden realization by some members of the community that the path they have followed for years is no longer the right one for them. Discussions involving the probabilities of the global population of “real vampires” to the damage wrought by sensational media presentations revolving around vampire crimes and from the spiritual ethic behind vampirism to the cold, hard psychology that is attributed to the modern vampire subculture. In fact, I don’t believe that there is a stone unturned or a question unasked at this time and while some of the answers remain as elusive as ever there are others that may well be permanently unanswerable. I have discussed belief structures and opinions with sanguinarian, psi, empath, hybrid and elemental vampires alike. I have delved into OVC politics and been privy to the thoughts and musings of a number of prominent community figures and for all of that I have still been given to wonder what it is that draws people to the community and what keeps them here.
In his inaugural address on January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy said:
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
The sentiment expressed then is no less relevant today, in national and global terms but if I may be allowed to paraphrase the great man, perhaps the question that needs to be asked now, by every member of the OVC, is:
“Ask not what is it we can do for the OVC, rather, what is it that the OVC can do for us.”
Naturally, in order to ask that question it is necessary to have some idea of what it is you want.
Each person who involves themselves in some activity does so with the expectation of gaining some benefit from it; the benefit may be personal satisfaction, it may be altruistic satisfaction, it may be personal material gain or it may be a genuine desire to see things improved beyond what they currently are; a change for the greater good for example. It is inevitable that somewhere along the line people involved in a community or society will look for the benefits that are coming their way from their participation and if those benefits do not materialize then the people begin to lessen their participation or cease it completely. Eventually the “community” devolves into a loose amalgam of cliques, tribes or clubs that have little interaction.
From 2006 to 2009 the Vampire & Energy Work Research Survey (VEWRS) and the Advanced Vampirism & Energy Work Research Survey (AVEWRS) were conducted. In all they achieved a combined response total of over 1,450 surveys making it the largest and most in-depth research study ever conducted on the real vampire/vampyre community/subculture. The surveys were translated from English into French, Spanish, German and Russian and in all seventeen countries were represented in the responses. Truly an impressive level of participation and one unprecedented in the history of the VC/OVC to my knowledge. Perhaps now it is time for the community to find out about itself as a whole, rather than about its individual parts.
One suggestion could well be a “Poll”, but not a “mere” poll, a poll that attracts a response of the same scale. However, what form could the question take?
What is the main benefit you want to derive from belonging to, and participating in, the VC/OVC?
Available responses: Friendships, Information, Guidance, Fun, Peer Recognition, Fame, Notoriety, Money, Escapism, Donors, A “soapbox”, Discussion, Support
Perhaps even a text box for Other ~ Please define.
Information gleaned from such a poll could be used, positively, to determine the future course of the OVC. It could be used to determine how to make the VC/OVC more relevant to more people and provide clues as to what it can do to improve its stature and standing with audiences outside of the community.
It took a good decade or more to get to the point we are at today, maybe it will take that to get back or move to the next level of community evolution but it’s as J.F.K also said;
“There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”
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There is just one other thing you might wish to consider…
“Positive anything is better than negative thinking.”
~ Elbert Hubbard