Wednesday, May 27, 2009

fashion bloggers--yea or nay?

The business of blogging fashion is a complicated one. It needs to be acknowledged. Fashion bloggers are, for designers and content creators, their "press" and a peek into their customers' psyches. They are the "word of mouth" creators love to have with a wider spread audience. They provide an invaluable service to consumers on the grid, and the continued proliferance of them can only be of benefit to designers and to the further life of Second Life.

Fashion bloggers are also content creators themselves. LL has made it blessedly easy for us to examine our avatars and dress them and also *mostly* easy for us to take screen captures of our avatars (that latest camera "fix" in the RC stunk--good thing they fixed it). The screen captures they take and then edit, the text they write, the links they make--they are all content creation. Some fashion bloggers do exquisite montages of the creative content that they have purchased or have received with elaborate web formatting and links, many of them only with the compensation of future free content or the appreciation of their readers. In other words, these folks don't get paid for this and as anyone who knows me, I argue that people's skills and time have value.

I appreciate their efforts because I do the blog for House of RFyre, and it can be a considerable time expenditure and cost to style the avatar, find poses and locales, create the image in world and in other software, gather the links, and write a blog. I am fortunate because usually I have the content readily available and Raven makes the final images.

Callie Cline recently asked me to be officer of her fashion bloggers group, one she created to send appreciation to bloggers. I accepted because, frankly, I like Callie a lot. She has shown to me nothing but pure integrity in her dealings with me and others and an amazing savvy about marketing in Second Life. Several people I highly respect have spoken with great admiration of her as well.

So it's to her credit that I agreed to help her because, at the time, I was pretty neutral about bloggers and honestly, I was damn sick of SL. I was tired of being IM'd in the middle of my play time or build time with sometimes selfish requests from random people, I was tired of the drama between friends and others, and I was tired of the stinkin' rolling restarts. I was plain old sick of arguing with everyone. Callie coddled and encouraged me and turned me around.

I wrote a response to an entry by HawksRock Gunawan in a blog he shares with several others, one of whom had her own word to say about his post (heehee). The gist of it is, I am glad I participated and I will continue to participate. I have a new appreciation and thought process about what fashion bloggers are up to. Doesn't mean I love them all. Doesn't mean I think they all do a great job and that none of them need improvement (and will post in the future the notecard I was allowed to send to them with fashion blogging tips). Doesn't mean I am all sweet and am gonna cheerfully accept random IMs in the middle of the night. Just means I now "appreciate" better.

Below is my response to HawksRock, reprinted here because I don't think anyone read it there (not that anyone will read it here either). HawksRock was gracious enough to IM me and compliment me on my response.
I was one of the first Callie approached to help be an officer of the fashion bloggers group when she opened it. She had a simple idea–she would have a Bloggers Appreciation Week. She would hold a party for the bloggers at the end of the week on one of her sims (not the one with her store, thanks). She would send out some nice little things she made and ask others to do so as well. She really only had half an idea of the mechanisms going into it. However, her mandate was pretty simple–she just wanted to show the bloggers appreciation.

I was cynical about the whole enterprise but tempered my cynicism because, frankly, Callie is a nice lady who always comes at things with the best intentions, and after a pretty crappy week, I needed some cheerfulness. SL was really getting to me–I was sick of freebie hunters, lag, rolling restarts, drama, and all of it. To Callie’s credit, I argued with her about some fine points but she talked me out of them in the interest of being NICE to the BLOGGERS. Her message never waivered. Her intent was pure throughout.

After she started the ball rolling, she IM’d me the first day with reports about the participants. (Along the lines of “OMG, we have 50 in the group! Yay!” I am not kidding–she said this. Two hours later, “We have 87! OMG! I didn’t think anyone would join!” She did it in with her characteristic 20 page breaks–two to three words per line.) This thing really did snowball on her.

And yeah, she has some secret underlying ability to turn things into a good campaign. This is not deliberate–she just has it in her! Maybe it’s karmic. Send out to the world what you want back. Send out bile, you get it back. Callie sent out positivity. She got it back.

And yes, the officers put a LOT of time into this as did many other people, including the designers who offered items to the bloggers and Charlotte, who built the party space on Callie’s sim. Callie didn’t do this alone–she never claimed she did.

However, Callie herself sacrificed a lot of time to this–time that would have been otherwise spent on her business. If you have ever run a business in SL, you know time spent in world suddenly has great value. Cost it out–the many hours she dedicated to this group in the many ways she did (including defending it in comments in this blog) will never be recouped financially. She ain’t ever gonna get enough sales to cover that time.

Frankly, Hawks, if anyone should be holding Callie’s feet to the fire for claiming success “alone,” it should be people like me (or Shelly above). You don’t have to do it for me.

The thing is, though, I got what I needed–I saw a lot of bloggers having fun, I received lots of personal thanks, I saw lots of people being excited and creative in their blogs, I met a lot of cool people and learned some new things, and I had a pretty crappy week get turned around by Callie’s enthusiasm spreading through the group.

And Callie personally and publicly thanked me many times. Whether you or any other blogger heard it, I am not sure, but I am satisfied.

So I drank the kool-aid. I came out better for it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

RL Art in SL

One of the residents on Avant Garde and one of my dearest friends in SL is KK Jewell, the editor of KK has been an ardent proponent of bringing RL architecture to SL and taking SL architecture out to the rest of the world. She has written about Scope Cleaver, among others.

The fabulous thing about KK is she's the real deal. She knows architecture and architects. She also knows art and has many friends in the art world, including painter David Hockney. (Side note: one of the first sets of images I imported into SL for my own personal use were Hockney's paintings. I decorated my first house in SL with them. So of course, I almost died when I found out she knew him.) KK has always been generous with her knowledge, her stories, and her time and friendship. It's why I asked Raven to name a dress after her :)

A few weeks ago, KK passed me a photo of a "painting" that Hockney did on his iPhone and had sent to his close friends. It was amazing and we were both excited. KK rezzed a prim and put the painting on it and hung it in her home in Avant Garde and all the residents got the opportunity to view it and enjoy it. We didn't say much--it was a personal communication between her friend David and herself, and she was sharing the beauty with just a few close friends.

KK called last night with another of Hockney's iPhone paintings and sent me this photo.

We since found some articles about the Hockney iPhone paintings so we felt it was ok to make this public. (Read about them on the Sundance channel or below.)
British painter David Hockney revealed Thursday how he uses his iPhone to paint pictures, as a new exhibition of works he produced on his computer opened in London.

"I like to draw flowers by hand on the iPhone and send them out to friends so they get fresh flowers. And my flowers last! They never die!" he told the Evening Standard newspaper.
I am sure KK would be glad to share the beauty with others in SL. Knock on her door at our sim, Avant Garde or peek through the windows. She has a regular rotation of original wonderful art there. As do other residents on my other two sims. Will write more when I can.