I’m very frustrated at the Second Life media outlets, the institutions and publications that have become the representation of news about Second Life. I feel that the Second Life media institutions, all of them, have failed to provide an accurate, coherent, and clear picture of the things going on in Second Life. It is much easier to garner the attention of real life media about something in Second Life than it is to gather the attention of Second Life media about the very platform they represent! The Second Life media, as a whole, has failed the residents in Second Life, period.
Of the handful of major media outlets in Second Life (Second Life Herald, Second Life Insider, Reuters/Second Life, SLNN and Metaverse Messenger), their top stories are (at the time this writing) virtual wars (Second Life Herald), business attire in Virtual Worlds (Second Life Insider), Inquires about extra marital affairs in Second Life (Reuters/Second Life), Two Prim Contests (SLNN), and the Open Letter Project (Metaverse Messenger). Out of these top stories, only two have a real impact on the virtual world (the Prim contest and the Open Letter Project); while the rest are inconsequential.
Maybe I’m being too hard on the major media establishments, especially when some of them claim to be unbalanced, or claim to be blogs and not accurate news sources. When outsiders, or when major real life media outlets look for information about Second Life, these ARE the sites they are going to, and a majority of the news is about griefing, wars, sex, or how unstable Second Life is. Occasionally there would be a major launch by a major corporation that gathers a lot of the news sources. Some of them, such as Second Life Insider, have daily updates about what is happening with the economy. BUT, is that all there is to Second Life?
For upcoming projects, such as Virtualive.tv, or for something like The Urbane DJ Festival, or even consistent news about Machinima, or music, or a reliable event listing, or consistent discussions and interviews about residents doing things INSIDE of Second Life, everything seems to get ignored, rolled over or lost. It’s hard being the small guy attempting to get coverage about an event, or project without damn near having to break a few sims, cause some major hysteria or pay for some major advertisement space. What is lacking in the Second Life Media are PR feeds, news wires where residents submit their news, a central (or several central) places where Second Life media outlets can pick and choose what they want. What is lacking is also a responsibility on the Second Life media to cover all that is Second Life, this includes the major bloggers. A lot of the things that come out seem to be the same “Second Life is down” or “Second Life is broken” or “X major company released ping pong balls”, RARELY do you hear about the personal, individual stories, projects, new ideas that stem from Second Life that make it what it is. CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX, all have these sorts of stories going on, but it is rare that any of the major Second Life outlets have these sorts of stories.
Now there are counterarguments here, one is that anyone can easily set up a blog – but how much attention does a new blog actually get? Someone can say that you can link yourself to the World of SL (which aggregates a bunch of SL related blogs, feeds, etc), BUT World of SL is only a fraction of the entire SL Blogging universe to begin with – at the moment I count 1 podcast, and all of the major media outlets on it anyway, including the BlogHUD. But there’s no Twitter, there’s no other podcasts, some fashion blogs (such as ASpiRE!) are missing, Clickable Culture Second Life feed is missing, etc. The next argument is “well, get added to the Second Life Del.Icio list”… that is not an easy process at all either. As much as I appreciate Pathfinder Linden’s work on the list, I’ve tried to get this blog, and a few sites added and they are still missing with very little response, which means that either Pathfinder is busy and being overwhelmed or the process is not gathering all of the sites it should be.
While this could be seen as me complaining because my events, or projects were not listed, I’ve had this conversation plenty of times with other people and have waited until the media actually gets better at covering what is going on in Second Life. It hasn’t happened, and it must. Amid the complaints that the Second Life classifieds, places, and event systems are not perfect, there are very LITTLE other avenues to place PR notices, releases, or event listings that is driven BY Second Lifers, and able to be picked up my the SL media outlets. It also has to be NOT driven by Linden Lab.