Second Life is an amazing virtual world. We had the opportunity when we joined to make it into any kind of world that we wanted, and let me tell you, it took us all of about a smidge of a nanosecond for people to find the climbing ladders and to start jostling and elbowing as they made their way up the success wall. First up, formed their groups and headed off so they could get the best position to be able to yell down at the people still waiting to get a foot on the ladder .. . words of encouragement like "you suck!" and "piss off. !" These first people were really talented, they did this while also writing up the rules and appointing themselves self professed experts. They formed little exclusive groups and had parties and support groups to help each other deal with all the riff raff they are forced to interact with in
The problem is that no-one changed the wording on the advertising … it still said things like "exciting virtual world where you get to create and be whatever you want." You can imagine the fisher wives pounding back their daily pint of disappointment complaining about that misnomer. And amongst the fashion career pathway, we like our participants segmented - kind of like cattle going off to market except not as humane. The ones getting on the oldest truck and heading for the dog food emporium … are pretty much the bloggers.
I am a blogger. Please read this knowing I am biased, untalented, and a user …. but I have really great clothes on account of all the free stuff I get. This is my plea for my fellow brother and sister bloggers … in the effort to have peace amongst us. I am going to try and explain the lowly blogger and how you can help us to become better people.
1. We all started somewhere. Take a look back at your first post, no matter how swell you thought it was at the time … it really wasn't. Most of us cringe when we look at what we actually put up.
Second Life is a movement of people coming and going, rising and falling, growing, reinventing, morphing into new permeations. Like any living society we depend on new blood. We need there to be a constant flow of new people, talent and ideas to keep up us moving forward. We may not be at the door welcoming them in but surely we can at least have some patience while they find their feet? Designers were once new and inexperienced too and had to rely on people's good will to support them. Try investing in some of the new people, a little encouragement goes a long way … and if you can't find it in yourself to do that, at least don't take it upon yourself to skewer them to roast them over the barbie.
Bloggers get better with support and time and a little help along the way.
2. One thing that is not often discussed is that bloggers do not make money blogging for the most part. Lots of them have had to shell out a heck of a lot of money for a good graphics card and a computer that can handle it. They probably have spent extra money on software like Photoshop - any idea how much that baby is worth? They are not going to make money at what they do.
It costs money to blog, and most bloggers are not paid for their work.
3. Bloggers often spend hours taking classes on line or in their communities, or pouring over the how to videos to learn their craft. Many of them are incredibly talented and give freely of their talents to showcase SL fashion with very little appreciation or thanks for their efforts.
Bloggers are committed.
4. Yes there are given review copies but it is not across the board. Many stores have a set list of people they use, some of those lists are determined simply by numbers and you might get in at some date, and other lists are the people that matter to that designer and you are never getting in. Some stores have a no review copy policy. Some bloggers may have been accused of, or actually did something 13 years ago which has put them on a black list for some designers, and of course all the designers friends and they are never getting any review copies. Some bloggers like to do things their own way and don't suck up and they are not going to be invited to participate in anything or given any review copies.
Very few of us get copies from ALL the stores we love to shop at and blog. It is harder to get in on the skins and hair. Accessories are not easy either. People want bloggers to accessorize. We have to stay up on the latest and so that means while you might be able to choose a skin and stick with it for a few months, or a hair or a few outfits, bloggers can't. They have to have the latest and so believe me, you will find that bloggers spend far more money than a lot of the residents in SL on their fashion. Bloggers also have to have poses, tons of them. There is other special equipment they might need, depending on how they do their pictures.
Bloggers support SL fashion with their dollars one way or another, regardless of how many review items they receive.
5. Having said that, there are people who put up a blog and seldom post to it and immediately sign up for all the review copies they can get their hands on. More and more designers and feeds are asking questions before they add new people and most bloggers should understand that there is a need to see some evidence of commitment and work ethic. It is also understandable that a designer has a certain look for their clothes and maybe a standard... and a blogger who is in this for the long haul will understand that, be patient and hone their craft.
A real blogger is patient and understands that you cannot arrive and say "PICK ME PICK ME!!" They are respectful, get to know the process and play nice with others.
6. Bloggers have followings. Even those that do not seem to have huge numbers might post a pic seen on flickr or on a feed that causes someone to go and buy that outfit. Think about it, if only one person is motivated to buy - the designer has lost nothing by providing a review copy. If 2 people buy then they have profited . It is a symbiotic relationship and the designers are the ones that benefit most from having bloggers cover their items.
Bloggers can help make designers rich.
7. Bloggers work day after day, scouring the feeds, out shopping, checking out what is new, networking, buying, putting things together, getting the location, the pose, taking the photo, working on it to make it spectacular - 2 - 3 photos for each blog post, writing something for every post, making sure all the slurls are in, posting and maintaining their blogs. It is not easy.
Bloggers work very hard.
8. It may take years for some bloggers to be accepted amongst their peers. Some are shut out of groups and feeds and ridiculed for their style or their presentation. Some are never invited to participate in the big events around the grid … and they still keep slogging away…
Everything may not be as it seems in the Blogger world, everyone is not a super star with legendary status that means their SL life is a bed of roses.
9. Most of us are pretty clear on how incredibly talented and giving the majority of designers are. Most of us are well aware of how hard they work and that we need to work as a team. Most of us feel really fortunate to have any of them offer to share their designs and we hope they also understand that not everything that is designed in here suits our avatar, or can be used in our blogs. That we don't blog everything does not mean we are taking anyone for granted or that we don't appreciate the talent it took to make it. Nor are we saying that it is no good.
Bloggers cannot showcase everything they are given and most designers get that.
10. We are all human and things come up and best intentions sometimes take second seat to real life issues.
Bloggers should not have to stand in the public square and share their personal struggles for the world to understand them and cut them some slack … especially when they have always been dependable in the past.
Everyone makes mistakes in their lives. We live, we grow. Not much of anything is made better by putting a matter that could be handled with privacy, class and decorum out there for everyone else, who have no idea about the individual situations of people or even the actual details of the current issue, to comment on. Nothing is ever made better by slinging mud and shooting arrows in a public arena. Most of us learned that somewhere between the 5th and 6th grade. Doing that is about something else … it is NOT about trying to make a situation better.
Yup there are asshole bloggers. There are assholes everywhere we turn in life … they don't all migrate into bloggerdom. I find it is always best to deal with the actual cases rather than paint an entire group.
I guess we have to ask if we want the entry bar to be set so high that no-one else can ever get it, or that people have to buy their way in. When we do that we pretty much shut the door on change, creativity and movement. I am not sure how fashion survives without that.
Give a blogger a break. Let the people you follow know you appreciate their work, and put away the knives. People have lives. Shit happens. We all make mistakes. Whether we get up tomorrow and try again has everything to do with whether it is even safe to come out from under our beds.
Hug a blogger today!!
(I purposely have not included links to any of the writings that prompted this article because I didn't want to. A lot of people I really like and care about said and did stuff that hurt other people, it went public and lots of other people joined in and other people I have tremendous respect for felt the need to step in and defend and testify. In the end it is a mess. It was never going to end any other way. You cannot take back the words, people's reputations have been tainted. SL likes to collect the dramas and the scandals and trot them out every chance it gets, to make sure we all stay where we are put. It is the part of this world I like the least.)