So, here we are.
The end of 2011 is almost upon us. This year has seen the single largest growth both for the main Doctor Who group which is now officially over 3500 members, and for the main Dr Who community regions, and has also seen the single longest stagnation since i started "marketing" Dr Who within SL.
The past 3 to 4 months have been like Second Life itself, stagnant. There is growth there, but its nowhere near what it has been. This basically mirrors what it is like across the entire grid. Some SciFi communities have been hit even harder. The IFT SciFI Faire has shown me this. I've been talking to a few of the other leaders of the other scifi communities around Second Life, most of them are jealous of the growth that the Dr Who community has seen in the past year. The Star Trek and Star Wars community's are stll big, but they have been on decline for the past year or more. The Doctor Who community, even though stagnating, is still growing, and the main group is one of the biggest sci-fi genre based groups on the grid with about 90% of the membership still active.
2012 is going to be the tough one though.
With the next new series not scheduled until the autumn of 2012 it means we are looking at basically almost a YEAR until a new series is on the air, probably next September. Between then and now its going to be a long haul.
The Katrina sim is now in a perfect position. The overhaul to mesh has shown the rest of the scifi community that the Doctor Who community has in it some of the best builders on the grid. The FIRST of the scifi sims to go all mesh, and one of the first regions in general in SL to go all mesh, just a pity we cant really see it right now since me and McAlpine dumped so much damn snow on the sim :) ...actually, wait, it was basically me that dumped all that snow...oops.
Time Station Zenobia, once complete, will mirror the sim down below as the jewel in the crown of the Doctor Who regions, but its useless having a crown if the community that it is supposed to support is starting to stagnate...and hence...the Gateway plan is now coming into effect.
It's something that's been brewing in the back of my head during that 2 month break i had. It's becoming harder and harder to advertise within the general SL populace about Dr Who, although things like the major Doctor Who discussion panels (one of which is this Saturday) do help a lot. The only REAL influx of new Doctor Who fans we get is from Podshock, but even then the influx from there is starting to wane. Whats needed is something to shift the focus away from trying to attract more folks from within SL to convert to being a Doctor Who fan...it's now time to look outwards, into the general online web based fan communities of Doctor Who, the forums, the websites and the online communities.
The new viewer which is seemingly more stable(ish) than the older viewers will help speed things along...
2012 will see Katrina become the gateway into SL, for the general Doctor Who fandom of outside of SL.
Some of it is already inplace, the foundations...the new Dr Who Expo twitter, blog and facebook page...but its still a lot of work ahead...a hell of a lot of work.