So, before I get started with this post, I feel the need to add some disclaimers and clauses and ifs ands or buts to it because I don't want to get a slew of comments basically saying "But what about..."
In the first place, I am very well aware that what I want to talk about does not apply to every single creator/designer/blogger/writer in Second Life. Obviously it doesn't. Saying I don't like something that some people are doing obviously means I know not all people are doing it.
Even if I say, as I sometimes do.. "I hate people," I know when I'm saying it that I don't hate ALL people. I love a great many of them, I respect quite a few more. At that moment however, in a very general aggravation kind of way, I hate everyone. It's really kind of ironic since in another general kind of way, I love people. Human beings are a paradox on legs and that includes their feelings about things and that certainly includes me.
So don't come to me telling me about people who aren't the people I'm talking about, k? Cause I know those people exist and you trying to deflect the point of the post is not going to make me change my mind and is just going to irritate me.
Anyone remember The Hulk? The one with Bill Bixby? "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry"? Yeah, well, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry either.
A while ago, there was a bit of a kerfluffle about bloggers and sponsors and stuff like that. A lot of people weighed in so, what I have to say at this point is not really adding anything new. However, since I've become a blogger myself, I've seen some things that really are starting to burn my toast, you know what I mean? And not all of those things are coming from bloggers. A lot of it, in fact, is coming from creators/designers.
So I'm gonna come right out here and say it. Making content in SL does not make you Coco Chanel or Oscar de la Renta or whoever.
There are some really splendid creators in SL who do things with their digital brush that are flatly amazing. They are artists in my opinion, and I highly respect their talents. BUT! Even those people, even those highly skilled and talented digital artists are not God's gift to the world. They still put their pants on one leg at a time. They still sit at the computer in their pajamas. They still scratch their butts and fart and do all the human things everyone does. And, sadly, the large majority of the world outside those of us in Second Life, don't even know these artists exist. And furthermore, even a lot of the population of Second Life don't know they exist either.
How do I know that? Because every single day in many of the group chats I am in, someone asks about something I've known about for ages. It could be Windlight. It could be a particular brand or a particular kind of thing. But something! And it's not always by someone "new" to Second Life either. And there are brands in Second Life dying as well, either because they haven't moved with the times or their designers have moved on or whatever other reasons they might have. It makes me sad, because there's always someone new to discover those brands if only the right things were done to make that so.
I went to a store the other night that was formerly a Big Name Brand in Second Life. The creator of that Brand is truly a digital artist with textures and prims. I don't think that person knows much about mesh however. But nevertheless, the clothes there are still gorgeous and are mostly system layer based. I couldn't help thinking that if that creator just made some appliers for butts and boobs, she could make a fortune all over again without hardly even lifting a finger.
That's not really the point but it is something that's on my mind. There are a number of Names in SL who are basically bleeding money every day because they won't take the time and effort to make appliers. And at the same time, they are making people like me feel left out. Or at least, that's how I feel. I won't buy your 800L dress, madame or monsieur designer because you aren't making appliers to go with it. And it pisses me off.
The point is, no matter how skilled or original your content is... it still does not make you some kind of Picasso or Michaelangelo. So, I for one, would appreciate it, if you got down off your high horse and down here with the rest of us mortals. I'll give you an example, glad you asked.
Since I've been blogging and gotten onto some feeds, I've been invited to a couple groups as a blogger - a thing that I am so extremely flattered and honored about, I can't even tell you. Seriously, it's a big damn deal to me and I take it very much to heart.
These kind of groups are also places where I see notices of stores looking for bloggers and bloggers looking for sponsors. I'll get to the sponsor thing in a minute. I often read the notices of stores looking for bloggers mostly out of curiosity but also out of a genuine hope I might find a store or two that I can truly appreciate and back and maybe help. Mostly, that isn't the case because the store sells mesh only content and nothing with appliers. I am not inclined to give up my mesh breasts in particular so I regretfully trash those notices. Very occasionally, there's a store that does sell items with appliers. Yippee!
Most of these stores have applications. That's fine, you need some way of keeping track of people who said they want to blog and also weed out those who don't meet your criteria. Very businesslike.
However, when your application more or less states that you expect the bloggers whom you select to place your content above anyone else's and to drop everything to post your content first and foremost - that's a problem. When your application asks if the blogger is willing to put a logo of that store on their blog aka free advertising - that's a problem. In one case, I said no I wasn't and never got a call back even though I have featured that shop's items on my blog. Stuff I paid for my very own self, thank you very much. - That's a problem. If you expect a blogger also to fail to mention any flaws or problems that blogger found with your item on a post - that's a problem. Don't cop an attitude with me, baby, over how I blog and how I run my blog. You are a creator in second life, bully for you. Get over yourself.
Let me just mention, I spend a lot of cash in Second Life. Every single thing that has been on my blog is something I PAID for with my own cash. And frankly, I'd rather say what I think and feel about items I blog or about things in Second Life in general. Part of my job as a fashion blogger is to tell the truth about what I blog. Most of the time it's a small thing that may not matter that much to me, or to other shoppers, but it's still on my shoulders to tell the truth.
I never want some poor reader to come to me and say, "Petra, why didn't you tell me that product xyz had this problem when you showed it on your blog." I mean, bloggers are also shopping guides, right? I know I've seen things on other people's blogs that I ran right out and bought because I saw it on their blog and liked it. I'd be pretty pissed if I bought something like that and then found it was wonky and the blogger didn't say so. That ain't right. And I won't do that to other people who happen to read a post of mine.
I usually prefer to show things that I really love, than show things I have problems with but if I do show something that has problems, I'm going to bloody well say so. And nobody has a right to get in my face about it. If you sell something with a problem, then you know that perfectly well, so your job is to make a better product. Not bitch and moan because someone called you on your mistake.
If I screw up my courage to ask for a review copy, which so far has not happened since I've had this blog, It's because I either feel that item is way out of my price range - and that means something that costs a lot more than a couple hundred linden or because it's something that's not in my usual shopping line.
But, if YOU are looking for bloggers, don't expect that those bloggers are all going to be in your pocket because you throw some of your content their way. YOU are the one looking for exposure, therefore the blogger is the one doing you the favor, not the other way around. If you want bloggers with integrity then treat them and what they do with some respect. and don't expect them to bend over backwards for you. The blogger - creator relationship is a business relationship where both people get something, one part of the relationship is not better or stronger than the other... or it shouldn't be.
And as an added note, bloggers looking for sponsors make me sad. Full stop. You really need to look at why the hell you are blogging and if the reason is "I want free stuff" please be honest about it and stop making the rest of us look bad. There's nothing wrong with wanting something free sometimes, but be honest about it and you know, maybe take a reality check.
I blog because I enjoy it. I enjoy the writing. I enjoy the styling. I enjoy the picture taking etc. I hope to show something to others and maybe help someone out, maybe they find that perfect item or I get someone a little exposure or maybe someone just sees a nice picture they enjoy. I hope to show something about myself so that when people read my blog they maybe know something more about me than they would know from just my profile. I'd rather pay for my own ride than feel beholden or that I wasn't being authentic. At the end of the day, authenticity, honesty, integrity, these are who we are. And I want to be the kind of person who knows she was real and honest, even if it made others uncomfortable or angry. The end.