Roughly 24 hours after the launch of the SL Bloggers Network – and which I reported on myself from the perspective of someone who helped with defining some aspects of the initiative prior to its launch – Linden Lab posted an update on the initiative, in which feedback by the Lab on the programme is given and concerns raised in various channels by bloggers and interested parties are addressed.
In Second Life Blogger Network Update – What’s Next?, the Lab reveals that the initial response has surprised them, and has caused something of a bottleneck:
Since our announcement of this new initiative yesterday, we’ve already had more than 100 bloggers opt-in!
We’d like to extend a sincere “thank you” to all of the blogging community for the many years of coverage of Second Life culture, communities, creations, and, yes, even controversies …
We do ask for a bit of patience during our launch week as we sort through and strategize how to both efficiently and fairly review the many blogs who have opted-in. In all honesty, we’re a bit overwhelmed by the number of bloggers who have responded in the first 24 hours!
To be honest, the volume of potential material that might become available to the Lab and the challenge this would create was a concern I raised with LL ahead of the launch. When first discussed, the approach considered for SLBN was to have bloggers enrol and, after writing an publishing an article they believe might qualify for promotion by SLBN, submit a link to the post to LL so it can be reviewed and potentially promoted. I was, frankly, surprised when it was decided to go for a “simple” blanket opt-in, just because because I felt it would place a large volume of work on LL’s shoulders in trying to keep abreast of monitoring blogs and selecting posts for possible promotion.
This approach of letting bloggers submit links to articles to me had (and has) merit for a number of reasons:
- It reduces the volume of potential posts that need almost daily review.
- It could allow time-limited articles on events, etc., come to LL’s attention sooner than might otherwise be the case, and so get promoted in a timely manner.
- While it may be a somewhat atypical situation given it was the launch of the programme, the initial post selected from my own blog in some ways evidences this: referring as it does to a series of events, the majority of which had already taken place by the time the post was listed.
- Most importantly: it eliminates certain anxieties and concerns bloggers may have about opting-in to the process in the first place, including:
- Fear that being critical of LL or SL could see them disbarred from the programme.
- Concern that – and despite statements by the Lab otherwise – in order to participate in the programme, bloggers must change their overall approach to and style of blogging (tone only might need to be adjusted when consciously opting to submit an article for consideration for SLBN promotion).
- The general concern that by participating, bloggers have the “big brother” of LL constantly looking over their shoulder, monitoring all of their output.
The anxieties / concern are particularly worth referencing here, because as can be seen in the Lab’s September 27th Update post, they have already been raised by bloggers – and they could continue to be of concern for bloggers learning about SLBN in the future.
By having an additional level of “opt-in” through link submission, the Lab potentially helps reduce such anxieties and underlines the freedom bloggers retain in writing posts and determining where they might have them promoted. Further, such an approach might help limit the (inevitable?) incorrect claims that the initiative is just about “LL trying to control the SL blogging community”.
That said, I’m not advocating the Lab should change the approach to SLBN submissions right now; we are, after all, only 48 hours into the programme, and hopefully some of the challenges the Lab faces will diminish somewhat as they gain greater familiarity with the blogs opting-in to the programme. However, I do think it is an option that is kept in mind such problems of volume and the timely review and promotion of posts does continue to be a problem.
In the meantime, those bloggers who have not familiarised themselves with the SLBN initiative and who wish to do so, can follow the links below: