Sunday, 25 March 2012

It's Open Season on Bloggers!! ANNIE - Get Your Gun!!

blogger season

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 Linden Lab's their Virtual World, Second Life. Damn I wish I had been around in the old days. It must have been something.


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.)

39 comments:

  1. This was very well written, Bliss. You manage to drive serious points home in a humorous way.

    Consider yourself squeezed! <-- Ali's version of a hug

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  2. Loved reading this Bliss, and thank you! Big hugssssssssssssss!

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  3. Thanks Lacy and LisaMun .. and thanks for all your hard work and effort. You too Ali, sorry I do not say that enough. I read people, I enjoy pictures, I enjoy their creations ... and I forget to tell the people behind it all how much it means to me.

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  4. I take photos and post to my flickr and blog in my own quiet little virtual world. I have no idea what you're on about in the last parenthesis paragraph, but I'm sure it's important. I bother no one, I shop and don't get hand outs, I take photos for myself, to enjoy and learn skills. Just as well because no one else really looks at the stuff!

    Whatever you are alluding to, it seems to me a little sad that people have let things bother them enough to get this upset, and react. Such a pity and so unnecessary. I think I'm actually quite glad I don't know about the carryings-on with some bloggers.

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    1. You are blessed indeed Evangelical and perhaps the smartest one here :) ... and no it is not important ... it is actually ridiculously unimportant. That is the whole point. Hugs!! :)

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  5. This is so well written and so true!! A bit of respect would be great.
    Thank you for this!!

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    1. You are so welcome, thanks for your comment!

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  6. Humorous or serious, you`re always a pleasure to read, Bliss!

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    1. Thank you Natali, that means a lot!

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  7. /me gives Bliss a huge bear hug.... thank you for your voice in this world! :)

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    1. Thanks Nissa. I appreciate your support :).

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  8. Yay for Bliss..blogging is hard work, it can take me up to 3-4 hours to get the right look, the pose, the sim etc... you have to be a blogger on SL and do RL... I do my best because I want to do the sellers proud of their hard work and give the reader something interesting to read & look at. Thank you so much for your post, you said it all. Hugs :)

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    1. I think people miss how important it is to us to honour the talent and the works of the designers and how serious most of us take that responsibility. I am glad that people are coming forward to echo that!! Thank you!

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  9. Love your post!

    As a writer of SL for years I can relate. We do what we do because we love it. Sometimes we even forgo any acknowledgement, credit for our hard work, or even a pat on the prim back for doing good (not always by choice)because we love what we do.

    We need to, as a community, support & help each other.

    I tend to shy away from the giant blogging communities because I do sometimes feel they are "elitist" towards others. Not everyone mind you but there are a lot that do make you feel that way (even when you've been writing longer or have been around longer some have a habit of making you feel like crud). Instead I try to be friendly to everyone I come across because it's how I would like to be treated.

    Thanks for the post!

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    1. Yes!! That this blog post serves to unite us as bloggers would be an awesome outcome. I regularly take the time to look at others work and admire their styling, enjoy their writing, pick up tips, etc etc etc ... and have not always taken the time to let people know I appreciate them. It is hard enough to have others throwing things at us ... we shouldn't do it to one another!! Thank you for your comment!

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  10. Fa-buuu-lousss. I couldn't have said it better myself, we need 1000 more bloggers like you on the feeds, Bliss. As for me and my blog we will focus on what's positive and beautiful. All. The. Time. 98% of the time it will be with my own money and many hours of great music and lots of Photoshop because learning new things and being creative is my thing.

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    1. There is so much about SL that I love, and so much to be positive about. Would be great if when we find someone struggling we could reach out a hand to help instead of a boot to kick! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  11. Lovely post. Words were right, fair and everything said in a positive way. Thumbs up!

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  12. This is one of the best blog articles I've read in quite some time. Bravo to you! Very well said. Thanks so much for sharing! <3

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  13. Really brilliant your text, it should be shared everywhere, so much congratulations! I hope that this text people understand more about the sphere of fashion, how it works and how it is real. I loved it! Sorry for my bad English!

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  14. Thank you Maelenn and Harlow and Mariana for your comments and support. It means a lot to me that so many of you have spoken out to echo what we all know. I am so amazed the scope and depth of the talent among the bloggers and we should be celebrating that and enjoying one another - not feeling isolated and in competition. Thank you, thank you, thank you ... all of you wonderful, talented, brilliant women who make my SL experience what it is!! (and men ... love us some men!!!! - just hate that they often look wayyyy better than we do in the same dress LOLOLOL)

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  15. I think you touched on some very important facts about bloggers. As a new blogger in the community, I can relate to how hard it is to get started, maintain and continue to improve. I still would love to learn some tricks of the trade when it comes to photography, but that's another story lol. It's hard get people to share where or what they learned.

    I have spent quite a bit of money just buying things i love and wanting to blog it. I'm always appreciative of the designers who let me work with them, especially considering my blog isn't even a year old yet, and let them know how much I appreciate the opportunity.

    Thank you for this post and discussion on how hard it can really be.

    <3 hugs

    Jaliyah

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    1. You should check out some of the You Tube offerings for Second Life Fashion, Blogging and Photoshop. There are bloggers that have really given a ton of information in their how-to videos and blogs - and they are really good themselves!!! You can work through those at your leisure. Otherwise, I am in no way a great blogger or photographer but I can try to answer questions. :)

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  16. Hi 5 to you! Beautifully written and I am so encouraged by your text! Thank you a million times over!

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    1. Akayo how kind of you to share that you are encouraged. YAY .. that makes my day. That was the intent.

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  17. Thank you very much for this funny yet very acurate article.

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    1. Thanks Elysium for your comment and for all YOU do to make SL fantastic!!

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  18. Awesome article! Was a pleasure to read.

    Warmest Regards
    Topaz

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  19. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this! It speaks so much to a lot of us/you/them and everyone across the fashion grid.

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  20. Thank you Maniera and Simply Dou for your feedback. As I said before, I am most pleased that this article has helped in a small way to unite the bloggers. If we don't appreciate how hard we all work, who will?

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  21. Love this. As a creator in SL for many years, you have made me see things in a new way. I have always appreciated bloggers, but this really put it into perspective.

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  22. Lexi Thank you!! That may be the best comment yet!

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  23. Wow. Where to start... First, Amen to this post, my sistah in SL blogging!
    You managed to sit down and write many, if not all of the points that many bloggers (including myself), wish they could say on a daily basis. I hope you don't mind my sharing this post to my SL/FB and Plurk and maybe even a link in my SL Profile.

    One point in particular, hit home with me, #9. Last year, I became a "victim" (for lack of a better word) of what I can only define as total elitism. I won't mention any name, but before a certain creator's (latest) blogger group was open, anyone who met certain blog requirements was allowed to apply for blogger status. This was one of the very first stores where I applied to be a blogger for so, I didn't feel too confident that I would be chosen. Well low and behold, I was! I felt very honoured and appreciative when I was assigned to the official blogger role in the group!

    Once the group started out, everything was fantastic. We were free to blog her items how ever we thought would be best. I blogged nearly every single item that I had received from her. I took the time to style/photograph/write about/promote all of the posts to all of the various social media sites that I am on (not to mention all of the free advertising that was had through all of the blog feeds my blog is on) and everything else that goes along with making a blog post.
    But...a few months later, without any explanation as to why, some new rules were set forth which created a great divide in the future of which group bloggers would or would not be allowed to blog her creations. Needless to say, my blog and I were no longer good enough to blog her items. I was never ejected from the group, nor given a reason as to why I was never chosen to be on her tiny monthly list of those deemed good enough and allowed to blog her items. Since the creator herself does not have the guts to eject those who she does not deem good enough, I left the group myself. I have never been into popularity contests and sadly, that is what that particular blogger group was turned in to.

    That one experience left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, but you know what? since all of that mess, my blog (and I) have grown and gotten better with each new post. I have since had some creator's and event managers approach me to blog for them! How very very sweet Karma really can be. ;)

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  24. Yes!! I think for some of the bloggers that sense of not being included in the review copies, or never approved for a feed etc can be very hard because it often does not seem to have a valid basis. It can be and sometimes is ... personal. AND, it can appear that once you are "black listed" by one ... the friends jump on board only on the say so of the one person. The whole friendship amongst one group can seem very cliquish to a single person just trying to get their feet wet.

    I have often thought that perhaps that is why it is even more important for the bloggers to be supportive of one another. On my worst days I have just reminded myself that I do this for me and whether anyone applauds my efforts or not is irrelevant to the process I enjoy ... but damn it is nice to be validated once in awhile isn't it?

    On the same note ... I bet the designers appreciate a little recognition as well. It is amazing how far a kind word goes. Thanks so much for your comment and sharing of this blog post :)

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  25. This is very well written! Thanks a million for being "the voice" for some of us. I am a new blogger with barely a year's experience and English is my second language. Believe it or not, I have bookmarked your post and will re-visit it as a reminder to myself that I'm not all alone facing similar challenges, and whenever I need some motivations.

    I couldn't agree with you more on this ..... "Bloggers support SL fashion with their dollars one way or another, regardless of how many review items they receive." ... yes, 90% is all my shopping! So, if it's my own money, I get to choose designers and dismiss some who seems to lack PR skills. But I'm all for the positives and I do drop a short message to designers to encourage them too. A little encouragement works for everyone, both sides!

    This whole experience of blogging is a learning curve for me. There are many delighting experiences that keeps me going and improving my writing and blogging. Thank you very much for writing this!

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  26. If you ever need encouragement - don't hesitate to contact me. I think we all struggle from time to time and I am happy to help whenever I can. Thanks for the comment.

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  27. This is very well written. Nice Job.

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