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  ‘Guardian’ Fails to Protect ‘Second Life’ History  
 
 
Posted 2006-11-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The living history of virtual world Second Life continues to withstand injury by outside business efforts and lazy reporters. The Guardian Unlimited's Berlin correspondent Jess Smee reports that Bild-Zeitung publisher Axel Springer is about to launch Second Life's "first" tabloid focusing entirely on in-world society and culture. Smee's report is not only incorrect, but it inexplicably ignores the living legacy of the Second Life Herald, a high-profile tabloid that's been happily raking mud in-world and on the web since 2004 (and earlier as The Alphaville Herald). Numerous mainstream media reports have used the Herald as a source over the years in order to bring catchy insider stories to the outside world.

What happened here? How could a seasoned reporter screw up so significantly? I couldn't find Smee's contact information to send an inquiry directly to the writer, so I'll indulge in speculation. Ultimately this boils down to laziness on Smee's part. A Google search for "Second Life tabloid" lists the Herald in the top ten results. So obviously Smee isn't doing even the slightest bit of research. The writer probably just reprinted whatever Axel Springer communicated. I can forgive publisher Axel Springer for being oblivious to existing Second Life culture (although how it thinks it can cover something it doesn't understand is beyond me), but it's insulting when companies try to rewrite community history. Further commentary at the Herald and Second Life Insider.
 
     
 
   
 
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  9 Comments  
 
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
November 8, 2006 @ 12:30 pm
     
 
Thanks for that post, Tony!
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ordinal Malaprop
November 8, 2006 @ 3:51 pm
     
 
We have also gained our first radio station. Is there no end to the inventiveness of the Corporate World? I feel quite humbled.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 8, 2006 @ 4:46 pm
     
 
Whoever is responsible for communicating about these fake "firsts" is not doing anyone a favour. Either someone's telling the corporations they are "first" or the corporations already have that belief, and their sherpas (e.g. Rivers Run Red) are not correcting them. Bad news either way.

A common complaint I hear from the business community is that this is an "oldbie" versus "newbie" situation, where the veterans are just afraid of change. I think this is a deflection. It's also arrogant--as if the veterans don't understand what's good for them. Constructive change is great--that's where an outside company might do something to meaningfully contribute to Second Life's structure or culture. Destructive change--where an outside company obliterates the native community to plant its flag on "New World" soil--is needless and insulting. It's easier to do the latter than the former. Constructive change requires actually knowing something about the community. All destructive change requires is a high-profile client and a few well-placed press-releases. Change is inevitable, but there's no reason we can't fight for the right kind.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Ordinal Malaprop
November 8, 2006 @ 5:10 pm
     
 
"the veterans are just afraid of change" - that's rich! The thing is, none of these people are doing *anything* new, and yet they insist on telling us via lazy journalists parroting press releases that they're the first ever to have thought of <ancient promotional idea>.

It doesn't actually matter to the companies concerned what residents think anyway, or how much geeky blogs take the piss - we're not their target audience. I've heard a lot on Secondcast et al about how they're actually really concerned about fitting in and not offending anyone, but, well, it doesn't show in their RL PR, and that is basically all that counts. While they may commission some serious content creators to build sims and cars and so on, who pay close attention to lag and building standards as they've spent a long time in SL, at the end of the day the company just wants it to look nice for publicity stills and maybe a video.

I don't really subscribe to the "wrecking the SL economy" idea because these people aren't going to *be* in SL long enough to wreck it. The problem is when LL themselves pander to the mayfly interests of PR machines when they make business decisions, to the detriment of long-term development and the interests of all of us who've been paying them and building the Grid up all this time.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
November 8, 2006 @ 6:11 pm
     
 
>The problem is when LL themselves pander to the mayfly interests of PR machines when they make business decisions, to the detriment of long-term development and the interests of all of us who've been paying them and building the Grid up all this time.

"Mayfly interests". I'll have to remember that term. Well said! Those Mayfly interests may actually find some Junebug bite-backs if they stick around lol.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Brace
November 9, 2006 @ 4:50 am
     
 
Well I'm the FIRST to invent the Cheeze Smacker - uh HUH yes I am!

I'm trying to feel sorry for the Herald gettin dissed and all, but I just cant seem muster it up.

SL has always had smacktards running around calling firsties on whatever - so this is new?

its funny tho ;)
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 9, 2006 @ 3:40 pm
     
 
Brace, I gave out copies of your Cheeze Smacker to my Game Design class this morning :)

I think this mad rush to be "first" is new in the sense that it's happened mostly in the last half of this year, and it's coming mostly from ignorant outside companies rather than ignorant inside residents. I can forgive an individual resident for making an honest mistake, but I'm less forgiving when companies ignore previous work only to crow about how innovative and creative they are. It's an adversarial and unfortunate attitude that harms, rather than helps the native community.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Urizenus
November 9, 2006 @ 11:10 pm
     
 
Brace, I don't think Tony's point is that anyone is supposed to feel sorry for the Herald or anyone else. As I understand it, the point is that it's just really bad form for people to come barging into a world and start arrogantly crowing about how they made it, and then think people are going to want to work with them.

Now if we want to feel sorry for anyone I think it should be the inept reporters Jess Smee that have found themselves trapped in careers where they must recycle false press releases, and YOU, because of the spanking I am going to give you because...well, just because.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Brace
November 10, 2006 @ 3:40 am
     
 
T-Dawg: WOOT!! That Cheeze Smacker is teh bomb neh? ;)~~

Yeah yeah I get all that, I'm just rabble rousing as usual. I just think its funny. The only reason it WASNT a "regular" resident making an oopsie, ties directly into what kind of landscape SL is today.

Uri Darlin: don't even TRY it - you'll draw back a stump :D

Git ta baby makin!! none of us are gettin any younger ;)~~~~

(speakin of gettin OLD - I never thot I'd end up as one of those loud mouthed oldbies who never log in but have plenty to say on blogs and forums and such; donating my eggs to sexy journalists so the Coral legacy will continue *sighs*) ah wells...
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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