Feb 8, 2012

Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghost Writers!

Linden Lab looks for guest bloggers, finds laughter instead. #SecondLife


Are you a passionate Second Life resident who loves to write about your Second Life experience and are looking for exposure for your own existing blog? Looking for a way to connect with other bloggers and open your door to new Second Life community readers?  If so, you might want to submit an original blog post (no links please) to us and it could end up being featured in the Second Life Community blogs.

As the movers, shakers, and experts on everything Second Life, we’d like to invite you to submit your original blog articles to us at blog-call@lindenlab.com with the Subject Line: Guest Blog Submission.  Selected submissions will be posted to the Blog section of the Community as a featured guest post!




Dear Linden Lab – My laptop in-world sucks less than yours. I’m actually blogging from it.


If you’ve been paying attention, Linden Lab recently put out a call for guest posts from the prominent bloggers in the community, and as much as I’d love to give them kudos for trying, I have to concede that the response they received from the community was expected.


It’s about ecosystem and the community of sharing, and on this point Linden Lab dropped the ball very publicly. We live in a world of content creation and sharing, and we take pride in our blogs because these blogs represent our freedom of expression and ideas on not just the virtual world but also all the things that go with it. We’re the Digerati because we’ve been so diligent in building our own brand and avatar presence, not because we’ve been busy building it for somebody else. That’s the lesson about Second Life – It’s not about Linden Lab, it’s about us, and every time Linden Lab acts selfish in this regard the community calls them on it.


This isn’t to be mean spirited, either… it’s just the way it is in this media-as-commodity society and prosumer culture. I’ll post a video at the end of this for you (and for Linden Lab) to thoroughly explain what the hell is going on, and how they (and you) can benefit going forward.


It wasn’t so much the offer from Linden Lab that made me laugh, but the guidelines and constraints they set for submissions -


If you would like to submit a guest post for the Second Life Blog, please consider these guidelines. Only submissions that meet these criteria will be considered for publishing.


  • All selected posts must adhere to our Community Participation Guidelines.
  • All selected posts should support the inclusiveness of the Second Life community.
  • Selected posts must not include marketing-related links and must not be entirely self-promotional.
  • The post may include links to your website and blog in a brief author’s bio (approximately 3 sentences), which will be published at the end of the guest post.
  • Please limit the number of images included in your submission to 4 or less.
  • We reserve the right to review and edit. We regularly edit posts by our contributors and guest bloggers.
  • Guest posts must be original and may not have been published elsewhere online already.  


I’ve put the offending terms in bold for which I would believe the most astute of bloggers who would be of any interest in this co-op posting would disagree with. We’re capable of editing our own content, and aside from minor edits, I’m not comfortable with a third party reconfiguring what I have said behind closed doors to suit their own needs. More importantly, the last requirement flat out misses the point of the sharing atmosphere and community which it is soliciting responses from – in that you are being asked to write content, without compensation of any kind, that Linden Lab can freely edit and manipulate as they see fit, and to top it all off, they demand that the content you are writing is exclusive to them alone.


This would exclude simultaneously posting the same article on your own blog, and to wit, makes you little more than a ghost writer for a company that is looking for free SEO content to fill their blog roll.


Like many blogs, this blog carries a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (or a variation of Creative Commons). This means you are free to repost my blog posts in full or in part anywhere you would like, as long as you give me attribution and as long as you aren’t charging people to read it or making money on it. This does not mean I endorse you, your blog or magazine, or anything you say. It simply means you are free to share what I’m saying here with little restriction. The choice of license does not necessarily exclude commercial use of my work, but it does require that you seek written permission from me to have that constraint waived.


In stark contrast, Linden Lab is immediately shooting themselves in the foot by demanding the exclusivity of submitted articles, which is a direct violation of what many established bloggers adhere by. In the event that exclusivity is required, the next logical question from any blogger is going to be –


What’s in it for me? I mean… why should I write for you?


For this question, Linden Lab gives no substantial answer other than they assert promotion of your own blog, which to me sounds a lot like the website client that says they’ll pay you for making them look good by putting a little by-line on the bottom of the page to promote you.


No self-respecting website designer would agree to those terms, and no self-respecting blogger of any merit would agree to those terms either.


The bigger issue with all of this is that the very idea of exclusivity and tight constraints in a digital media ecosystem is a direct contradiction to the ecosystem itself – in a world of sharing, Linden Lab is asking for permission only to take and gives nothing back, and by association alone are showing that they are thinking like a traditional company that simply does not understand social media.


Despite all of this, however, I’d like to offer a better solution for everyone – far be it that I should be the Debbie Downer for Linden Lab’s hopes of building an army of bloggers willing to write stuff for them with little or no incentive.


Instead of asking for bloggers to submit content specifically for Linden Lab to publish exclusively, if they were truly interested in celebrating the diversity of culture and opinion in their community, they would instead be asking for their community of bloggers to be submitting posts from their own blogs to be reposted on the Linden blog in a celebration and expose’ of their community and wide reach. Any editing that is done to those submissions should be done in a transparent manner with the actual writer, because the writers themselves are the creative force behind what is being said on those posts – what they are saying is very deliberate and intentional.


For those of you into social media (and that’s probably quite a lot of you) the following video from Gary Vaynerchuk should be highly interesting and informative. This video should also be considered homework for the people at Linden Lab to take notes on.




It’s time to learn what a prosumer is all about–this is worth every single minute of watching it. Trust me.




Seriously… I wasn’t joking before. This isn’t a mockup. It’s my actual laptop in Second Life, on a desk that I made myself, and running a fully functional Cloud OS through Shared Media.






I wasn’t kidding when I said my laptop in Second Life is better than the one that Linden Lab used for their screen shot. Unlike their laptop, mine actually has a cloud operating system on it with a full suite of actual applications. Let’s just say I happen to like using Shared media to the absolute fullest potential.


  1. Brilliant post. Thank you for explaining so eloquently what I was getting at in my short little vent this morning. Your blog should be required reading for everyone at LL.

  2. Thanks Chestnut :) Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Did you make the laptop and script it? I would love something like that on Avination.

  4. Yoshiko - Yes, however my laptop is not for sale or available. It's my own, one of a kind. I've given a few to close friends, but that's it. The purpose was to be a creative exercise into what I could do with Shared Media, but never intended as a product to be sold.

  5. Fantastic post Will, and I am watching Gary's video with coffee. :)

  6. @Angie - Thank you for the kind words :) I'm glad you enjoyed the post so much! Feel free to share it with others as you see fit.

  7. Will, brilliant post. Thank you for so eloquently saying what so many of us are thinking!

  8. @Lizzie I appreciate the kind words :) I use "incentive" in place of "money" because to me it's not about the money. I mean, it would be great if they put a monetary incentive to it, but there are other ways to incentivize and entice bloggers to submit opt-ed pieces if they'd just learn to properly engage in social media conversation and established ecosystem. Linden Lab seems to have an awful lot to learn about the way social media really works... and ultimately, how their own virtual environment ecosystem works.