Many artists, filmmakers, and fans of art in SL would be familiar with UWA in Second Life's somewhat unusual method of running a 'People's Choice' award, where audience members are invited to 'predict' what a juried top 10 would be, as opposed to voting for one or two of their personal favourites. This is mainly to reduce the pressure that some artists or filmmakers and their friends might be under, if they felt it was their responsibility once they had created a film or an artwork to then also be responsible somewhat to ensure that they also received the votes they deserved.
I had always felt this was a good move as I imagined it would be hard on the artist and their family, but never really experienced it first hand. That all changed when Radheya created a short film for the City of Fremantle 'My Freo Story' competition, which had a traditional People's Choice Award element.
He only got the film up about 4 days before the closing date leaving not much time to vote, and other films had been up for comments and voting for more than 2 weeks including the then front-runner, the beautifully crafted and heavily twitter backed 'Virtuosity' by Harry Jones & Jordan Swindells.
Radheya's film however quickly gained traction and in the first day had cut the lead by half. This swift rise by the newcomer was quickly noticed, and the ante was upped by other contenders with varied posts on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google+ and Instagram, among others, and the battle was on.
Points were awarded for every 'Like' and every positive comment made directly on the youtube videos, and by the end of day 2, the top 2 films could not be separated. A surge of support from Twitter then pushed Virtuosity in front, by a seemingly insurmountable margin one day before the close of voting. Twiter votes seemed to surge by the hundreds with every Twitter post. However, steady support across the following 24 hours a great number of which came from Second Life saw the lead change hands again leading to a tense final 12 hours where it remained close enough to go either way, and in the end won out. While he did get a lot of support from many places, on balance, it is my opinion that without support from Second Life, he would not have gotten across the line.
Looking at the nature of the comments etc as well between the 2 lead films for the People's Choice, there did seem on balance to be greater involvement from the viewers and commenters that originated from SL as opposed to Twitter in particular.
Thank you artists, filmmakers, students, fans of the arts and films and residents of SL. You were awesome!
Some proper research into the nature, strength and responsiveness of the various communities built via the various social media channels is certainly warranted!
This is the film itself:
Full winners announcement by 'Fremantle Story' can be found HERE (Including the juried winner - Shakey's Story)