(update: weekend in review part 3 is still coming, where I'll talk about the different car companies in SL. I still need to check out Pontiac but I've already looked at Nissan and Scion.)
Where to begin?
Back in October I reported on a few leading in-world blogs. I didn't mention Metaverse Messenger since that's still in PDF format (no matter how many times I tell Katt that she should raise her ad rates and hire an HTML person). I probably should have, since they have been very thorough to cover a lot of media events in SL as well as resident-related happenings that mainstream media (and me, true enough) can overlook. They've established themselves as a steady-running newspaper, even having paper copies at the SLCC 2006.
Old Media as New Media
And, since October, Reuters has joined SL. I meant to blog about this sooner but I simply haven't had the proper time to chat with in-world reporter Adam Reuters or check out there build. I'm very excited to see them join given their long standing reputation for providing news around the globe. I did chat with Adam a bit at the Dell Computers opening last week, welcomed Reuters to SL, so I suppose I should here.
Reuters, welcome to SL. Old Media becomes new again! And while recently "firsts" has been shunned by the media recently, I think it's important to note that Reuters is a pioneer being the first real-world media to establish a dedicated reporter in SL.
Subjects of Blogs vs Traditional Media
From my own observation of a couple dozen blogs on my RSS feeder compared with mainstream international and regional media coverage of SL, I have some points to share:
- Mainstream media taps into things hyped by SL blogs, but not all things.
- Mainstream media loves any story that involves the phrases, "makes real money", "hacker attack", "sued", or "[real life celebrity name here]".
- SL Bloggers care about some pretty trivial things, like, "OMG this person made XYZ clothing accessory that has an animation in it." Often times, these are free advertisements in the form of outright plugs for personal friends.
- SL Bloggers also seem to pick up on very controversial and fascinating issues that mainstream media simply doesn't understand. Try explaining the value of mixing Google Earth and GLIntercepted geometry of SL models to CNN. Even if it is on their radar, they have trouble explaining it. Heck, I've talked with reporters who know so little about SL that, while they are calling to talk about how I make a living in SL, I wind up spending 30 minutes explaining what SL is.
- SL Bloggers tend to post lots of articles that are essentially news-coverage, and post very few articles that are analysis.
Hype and Firsts
The SL Herald has been on the forefront of blogs that have criticized mainstream media for overly hyping events and misclaiming "firsts" in the Metaverse. As readers pointed out, it's not even the developers that are usually behind the wrong "firsts" claims, but the mainstream media simply being lazy and doing doing insufficient research. However, it should be noted that, as I pointed out earlier in my list (1), mainstream media is getting a lot of their stories from the SL blogs.
In fact, looking over some recent events, it seems that the hype seems to be seeping out from the SL blogs themselves, not mainstream media!
Three recent examples:
- Jay-Z coming to SL
- Machinima Film Fest being in SL
- Scion launching in SL
Don't Just Hype Ahead of Time, Report Afterward!
Looking over my RSS feed, it's clear that SL bloggers are mostly covering the announcement of the event, and hardly talking afterward about what actually happened. I have to ask: "Are SL bloggers even going to the events they are hyping?"
The Herald is a good counter-example, though by their own admission, they are an "unbalanced tabloid". And I've seen some excellent critiques by Hamlet over at New World Notes, though he seems to be fairy selective about what he chooses to really dig into. Metaverse Messenger is pretty thorough, as I pointed out earlier; they also have a group of people working on it, unlike most bloggers being solo artists.
I know many of these bloggers personally, and I'm trying hard not to single anyone out as doing a poor job. I know I've sent out some fairly "just reporting the news" type articles myself, but I try and keep remembering to look at motto at the top-left corner of my blog to keep me on track.
Let's Stay Focused
There's a lot of things happening in SL now, and I realize there's not enough time to properly cover everything, but please, if eight or nine of you bloggers pop up on my RSS feed and all simply quote the same original press release, it's not adding anything to my understanding. Let's try and stay focused, shall we?
I will, meanwhile, keep trying to put any news I present in perspective. I will keep trying to not report news, but instead provide insightful commentary.