With the impending closure of Altspace approaching, our peer support group has had to find a new place to host our weekly meetups. We have been meeting on Altspace every Sunday night since the group’s creation three years ago. The news of their closure hit us hard, but it is our very nature as spoonies to adapt and persevere!
We’ve already found a new home for our weekly meetings on Spatial.io, which is similar to Altspace, and an improvement in many ways. With Spatial, you can access our group meetings from just about any device, from VR, to your PC, tablet, and even your smartphone! Search for “Spatial” in your devices’ respective app stores and look for the logo.
The expanded accessibility options for folks who have a hard time when their symptoms impact their ability to wear a VR headset or even sit at their computer is a major bonus for our community. The service is so smooth and optimized that you can access it via your web browser without having to download a client to your PC. The graphics are a lot less cartoony, and while I personally don’t care much for the limited customization of avatars as they are now, I know Spatial is still very new, and more customization options are likely on the way. That minor gripe aside, the platform overall seems perfect for us!
Until Altspace closes down, we will continue to meet on Altspace at the usual day and time. Additionally, in order to make the transition to Spatial as easy as possible for our community, we’re going to start having a second weekly meeting on Spatial as well. Starting in February, we’ll meet Thursdays at 7pm EST. This meetup will be shorter and more casual. We’ll just be hanging out and potentially playing some party games or watching YouTube videos using the awesome screenshare feature Spatial has. This way, everybody should have plenty of opportunities to get used to navigating the new platform, and we’ll all be ready to meet there at the usual Sunday time once Altspace has officially closed.
Spatial doesn’t have a dedicated events planning feature (yet), so I’ve added the events to our group calendar, which I encourage you to add to your Google calendar so you can automatically stay up to date on all our events! You can also enable Google Calendar notifications on your smart speakers and other devices for reminders! I’ll also continue to remind everyone of upcoming events in our Facebook messenger chat and Discord server.
In order to join the meeting, all you have to do is click on this link when the meeting is happening. The link is also available in the calendar event details so you can find it easily. This link will always take you to that world space whether we have an active meetup or not. Feel free to hang out there any time, and “favorite” the space by clicking on the “♥” icon so you can easily find the meeting space in your favorites menu.
Since many of our group members are incredibly talented, creative people, we also have our very own art gallery that you can explore here, and group members can use this form to submit their pieces to be added to the gallery! It’s still very new, so we don’t have many submissions yet, but I imagine it won’t be long before we’ll have to expand to multiple gallery spaces! I also have plans to create other spaces for group members to access resources and recommendations to help them cope with life with chronic illness / disability, as well as educational spaces for folks outside of our community to learn about life with our conditions.