Dear Bloggers

Dearest Bloggers,

This is going to sound ranty, and in some ways it is. I never thought I would ever do a post that was focused on bloggers and what they do, or in this case often don’t do. This has been festering for me now for at least two years, so it was today that the final straw was snapped so to speak. Now I know some of you may not agree with what I say about this, and that is ok, because if you do not agree then chances are it doesn’t apply to you.

The problem I have been noticing over the past two years, is that often I will see bloggers say such things as ‘ I am not going to do it because others have” or ” I didn’t get early access so I am not going ” or worse ” I didn’t get in early so I am not covering it ” and much worse ” I didn’t get sent anything so I will not blog about it “.

The examples are in regards to events that are run in Second Life, and though there are many blogs that do their utmost to make sure as many events as possible are covered, it is really off putting to see bloggers going out of their way to NOT do so. I do not know why  you blog, I am not privy to that info unless it is information that you readily share, either through an about page, or possibly in a past post you have written. If your blog is a photography blog only, or if you don’t support the type of thing that the event is about – i.e Charity or Promotional – that is understandable, but if you want to have your blog be a place that your readers visit knowing they are getting as much as you are able to share with them as regularly as you can, maybe put that aside and consider that it may be something they do support or would want to know about.

When I started blogging in 06 there were only a handful of bloggers back then and there was also only ONE FEED! – shocking I know – and regardless of what was on it, and how often the same item or news or promotional poster appeared, we all had/have our own readers and making sure they saw the info if they only read my blog was important to me. As it should be to you, you should be so proud of your work you do on your blog, you should definitely believe in the fact that there are readers out there that ONLY read yours, or have you as one of the few they do read. Many won’t even know there are feeds, they may have found your blog and that is enough for them, so why would you want to not have them experience everything you know about Second Life and can share?

One of the biggest things about being a Second Life blogger also is that we tend to have a large learning curve in Second Life. Just like many designers, we have picked up tools and learned many things along the way, and often we want to share them with people. I mean isn’t it usually on a blog you learn about the easiest way to edit lashes, or how to set your wind-light for really nice skin and clothing. Isn’t it on blogs that you learn about Ctrl 0 to zoom in and Ctrl 9 to get back to normal , it is usually also on blogs you hear about the current trends in Social Networking, and what is the latest craze happening on the grid, and just like all of that info, events are still so important.

I am not trying to say that you should spend your days doing post after post of promotional information, but there are things you can do to get the word out and help the people organising the events get the word out also. You could start off your post with just a mention in text that there is a fair, or event happening, and how to find more info with a link or a slurl or a contact name. You can also include a poster from the event with the posts you are posting on, because if you are posting about a shirt you bought at one, or got sent by the designer etc, your readers may miss the info about it being from an event, because the shirt may not be their style, so they will probably look no further at the information…but if you included a poster promoting the event, then visually they would see that there is more to your shirt than just a shirt, and that they could visit the event and pick up lots of other great items, or even simply donate an amount of money if it is a cause they are supportive of.

Back to the examples though and this makes me all sorts of sadface when I see it happen. Events have so many things going on in the planning stages, and having a blogging preview day is something that is definitely a promotional tool. But it is not, and should never be the only way word is spread, or how you as a blogger feel about the event because of it.

A bloggers day, or set up area etc, is a very big undertaking from all sides. It is not something ANYONE is entitled to, especially not just because you have a blog. Yes organisers and designers appreciate that you do spread the word, but you should never only do so if there is something in it for you. Events are usually planned months in advance, and often the info is out there well before the event starts, or any kind of blogging application is set up.

If you see that you can apply to be a blogger for an event, NEVER EVER consider for one moment that it is for anything other than being one of the first to receive information about the event. The bloggers groups for events, should always be for the organisers to get the information out to those that want to help spread that word. It should never ever be an assumption that you have access, or that you may receive items from the designers involved prior to the event.

A bloggers group for events should only ever be considered a Press Release group, and if they have a blogging day earlier, that is great that they have made that possible. But there are always going to be limits on how many are able to do that, not because anyone is being mean, it is usually because of the limits of the sim.  If you miss a deadline for an event do not wipe your hands of the event. Make the effort to present yourself as someone who cares more about the event, your readers and your blog, because that is going to definitely show to others.

If you do not have a huge budget to go and shop the event once it is open, and you hoped that by being one of the early bloggers that that would get you stuff, you should not think that, because again it is never a guarantee. Even if you are an early blogger, and you see others may have received items from designers, that may be because they are already on that designers bloggers list, or may just be really close to that designer, you never know what is going on, so do not assume that earlier access people get anything early because of earlier access. But if you really do want to share info about the designers participating and their products, as well as the event and the cause it is trying to promote, you will definitely find ways to show them.

* Take pics of vendors at the event – I have done this many times in my first few years of blogging, I have even asked the designers for their ads so they were the best resolution etc. Also you can search Flickr and you may find a group that includes the pictures from the events vendors, which you can then link to – do not use the pictures unless you have asked for permission prior, as some get really upset about that kind of thing.

* Take pics of the event location and the surrounding builds, and showcase the event area itself. Often this gets overlooked and it is a shame, because so many people put so much effort into the events look.

* Gather up your friends and shoot pics of their purchases from the event. This can be so much fun to do, having a girls/guys night and everyone dressing up in their items they got at the event and posing for you. Whimsy, Ashia, Newdoll and I have often appeared on each others blogs wearing other colours of same items, or wearing items the other didn’t have, but always crediting them.

*Contact the organisers and ask if there is a Press Kit that you did not have access to, that you can use to promote the event on your blog. If they do not have a Press Kit made, ask them for the promotional poster and a store list of participants if they have one. If they don’t have either BOP THEM ON THE HEAD! also ask for a link to their blog – often you will find that events have their own blogs with info and up to date information. The list of participants also provides you with the ability to then contact the designers yourself and ask if they are considering sending review packs for their items in the event, and that you would like to be considered as one of the bloggers that may receive said items. Just because you did not make early access does not mean you cannot approach designers yourself, Whimsy Winx one of the other Organisers of Hair Fair did a blog post about this exact thing in 2010 HERE and Cajsa Lilliehook did one last year also HERE .

Another idea that in my mind would be a stand out blog post.

* Blog about the event in your own language if English isn’t your first. This would definitely bring your blog to the attention of future event organisers, because you are reaching an audience they cannot always reach. Include the poster about the event also, so that those that do not speak your language can realise at least that it is about an event and the dates etc. Doing so in both your native language and English is even more awesome.

Remember most of all, Second Life is a Community, and as a blogger you can actually play a really big role in that community, it is up to you how big of a role you want to play. If at the end of the day you are only interested in getting nice stuff, then that is your choice and good luck to you…we all love nice things, and I am blessed to have the chance to share those things with many people through my blog. But without sharing more than just things we have, there is a disconnect from the community, and I for one want more from the blogs I read, and I try and read as many as I can every day. So please show me the things I don’t know about, because I am only one person, and I don’t get to hear about everything, mind you many think I do.

Everyone that blogs has something to share, even if the same items, news, event info, it is up to you to show you are sharing with integrity and passion for blogging. Remember people are always watching, and if you show yourself to be fair and kind, and considerate, and to share info that helps others along the way, this will never go unnoticed. If you do these things because you want to share that info to the best of your ability, then how could you not be noticed, you may find that by doing so you get invited to be part of events without having to ask to be – no promises but it can happen, trust me.

On a side note…

Dear Organisers of Events,

Stop plurking/Twittering/Facebooking about events and leaving it at that. If you do not reach out in world and contact groups that are designed to share info, then you are really hurting your event from the start. Many Second Life residents have nothing to do with Second Life other than in world Magazines or Blogs, they do not twitter, or plurk or facebook as their avatars, so that is thousands of people that will never know an event is coming up. Over the years with Hair Fair and Another Fundraiser or other events I have had something to do with, I have been contacted by residents who have offered land, or support or large donations, sometimes even holding events in their own sims or clubs or stores to raise extra money to give to us. If people know in advance they can make plans, there are Bloggers Groups that share press kits, or announcements of upcoming events to their group members, such as SL Bloggers Network run by Voshie Paine, Second Life Bloggers run by Tymmerie Thorne.

You can also contact some blogs that offer advertising free for Charity Events, What’s New SL does that, so does SLUniverse , there are also dozens of Flickr Groups that allow posting of event posters as well as discussion postings. You also have Forums in SLUniverse and our very own Second Life Forums that most likely have a news/events kind of listing, and if they don’t they should. There is also the Second Life Events Calendar where you can make sure to lock in the dates of an event, which also promotes it when people go to see what is currently on or coming up.  That would get people noticing the event is coming way before most promotional work starts in other areas and can help build participation enthusiasm and can bring designers to your door to be part of the event.

~

I hope you that do read all these words know that I am not trying to put anyone down, but have been watching for the past couple of years and seeing a true decline in this area. Our Community is the best in the world, because it spans the world, we are Second Lifers, and WE ROCK!

xoxSasyxox

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