We are deeply humbled by the response so far to the debut of the new Second Life Blogger Network (SLBN). 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. The Second Life blogging community is never dull, to be sure -- and it serves as a key information source for so many who seek to stay connected to so many aspects of our shared virtual society. SLBN aims simply to call more attention to the many fantastic bloggers that are out there so that more people discover their work.
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!
So, what’s next? We’re already reviewing posts across all bloggers who have opted-in to begin the process of selectively sharing a handful of posts weekly via many of our official Second Life channels including the new Community Newsfeed, social channels and (in the near future) the login page of our official Second Life Viewer.
Since the launch, there have been a few questions from the community that we’d also like to address. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received so far:
If I opt-in, are you going to censor my blog or penalize me if I post something critical?
Absolutely not! By opting in, bloggers do not cede any editorial control as they remain completely independent. We have no implied or actual say over what bloggers choose to publish -- and, to be clear, we’ll still consider posts from blogs that are often critical of Second Life. Specifically, we review individual posts when we consider what to feature - not your overall blog.
It is true, however, that we do have content guidelines shared publicly so that we are transparent on our editorial criteria used in determining what specific posts we choose to promote on our own channels. One thing that we do want to clarify: we will not deliberately promote or support blogs that frequently post illegal, unauthorized or hateful content.
We also want to clarify that we do not expect nor recommend that bloggers alter their editorial strategy with hopes of being featured. With the high volume of new posts published daily across all participating bloggers, we anticipate only a very few will be featured any given week.
My blog features some adult content or nudity. Can I still apply?
Yes! While we won’t feature posts that contain sexually explicit content or other types of ‘adult’ content, we’ll still consider your individual posts that are compliant with our content guidelines. Since featured blog posts may be seen on our general Secondlife.com website and/or some social channels, we aim to follow industry-standard content guidelines (such as those published by Google and Microsoft).
We understand that one of the great things about Second Life is the abundance of self-expression and creativity across a breadth of topics and genres, including adult-oriented content. However, to stay in compliance with the aforementioned industry-standard content guidelines, we simply aren’t able to highlight explicit ‘adult’ content on our website or social channels. At our sole discretion, we may make exceptions to these policies in limited educational or scientific contexts.
I’m unclear about what happens after I opt-in my blog. Do I need to do anything else?
No! Once you have opted-in, you will automatically be added to our internal blog feed for ongoing consideration. You do not need to do anything else - and you can opt-out at any time if you change your mind. By opting into the SLBN, you are giving us permission to potentially promote and link to one of your individual blog posts including the use of a brief opening sentence or two from your blog and a single image. We will not reproduce your entire post! All SLBN content links outbound to your site for the full blog post.
I opted-in but now I want to opt-out. How do I do that?
The same Submission Form used to opt-in can also be used to opt-out. Just go to the form and select the opt-out notification.
Why should I opt-in? What’s in it for me?
We hope to give more exposure to the independent blogging community via some of our high-profile channels including our official blog and social media channels. While a featured presence might not send millions of new pageviews your way, it can’t hurt to get a bit more traffic and awareness to your site - particularly for those who might not have yet discovered it on their own. Your traffic boost might only be modest, but hopefully, you’ll get some new readers from the exposure.
For those that follow industry “best practices” in search engine optimization (SEO), we think that independent bloggers will also benefit from getting another prominent inbound link to their site (which can help with their establishment of “relevancy” in the search engine ranking algorithms).
For us, we benefit by giving new Residents, in particular, another way to get connected with the broader Second Life community as they quickly learn more context about Second Life communities and cultures (and clothing!). We also hope that existing Residents will stay logged in longer as they discover new events, fashions, and experiences from your blogs.
What about Flickr and YouTube? Do my accounts and content qualify for inclusion in the SLBN?
Yes! We recognize that many bloggers and vloggers publish videos and photos directly on YouTube and/or Flickr. Please use the Submission Form to submit your social account for consideration.
I have a blog for my store or fashion line. Can I still submit my blog and will you consider my posts?
Yes! We recognize that some of the best blog posts come from bloggers who also have their own stores or creations in Second Life. However, we aren’t likely to feature posts where “the editorial content is primarily promotional in nature and reads like a press release or ad for a particular merchant, creator, destination or event,” according to our Content Guidelines.
What can I expect if my post is featured?
Once you opt-in, we’ll begin monitoring your blog posts for potential inclusion in one or more of our official Second Life channels, including our new Community Newsfeed on Secondlife.com, one or more of our social media channels, and (eventually) a feed on our official Second Life Viewer login page. Please note that not all posts will always appear in all distribution channels.
I am worried that my blog might not be compliant with the Terms & Conditions and/or Content Guidelines. Do I need to change anything to qualify?
We are NOT asking anyone to change anything as part of this initiative. However, bloggers who opt-in must also agree to the Terms & Conditions. Remember that we are reviewing content on a blog post level, so some of your posts may qualify for consideration and some may not, but your blog can still qualify. Of particular note though, please be aware that for legal reasons the criteria does mention that Linden Lab trademarks or logos should not be included in the blog domain name for participating bloggers.
Why is LL doing this when there are other similar initiatives driven by community members! Stay in your own lane!
Fair enough. We acknowledge that over the years there have been many community groups and members who have provided blog feeds and similar initiatives. We see the SLBN as additional and complementary to those established initiatives. Our goal is to further highlight the incredible community content on our platform. We feel that this is a mutually beneficial program that helps show off Second Life and helps send some traffic to bloggers and their content, and we also appreciate and want to support those groups and community members who have been doing so already.
One of our key goals with SLBN is simply to help introduce even more people in (and outside of) the Second Life community to the many different bloggers that are out there.
How can I get in touch with you if I have more questions?
Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with further questions.