Mar 26, 2012

Shame on FFL.

A few days ago, a post came out on this blog that listed a "Bloggers Hall of Shame" for bloggers who, despite their best intentions, could not post for the cancer charity event called Fashion for Life (since then, due to much brouhaha, the actual list of "shamed" bloggers has been removed; yours truly was actually 1 of the people on that loathsomely inaccurate list -- more on that later).

I, along with nearly the entire SL blogging community, found the very concept of creating such a "list" to be utterly despicable, as well as arguably invoking "slander" (as that term is used under the DMCA). I also think this is an opportunity for discussion regarding precisely why this article was total "douchebaggery" (as 1 blogger put it). Here's why:

1. You just don't attack your own volunteers. To say it's poor manners is an understatement; it's mean-spirited and downright idiotic. Also, Bloggers = FREE PRESS. We donate our time, our photography, our photo editing, our styling, and our writing to cover your item/event. It's VOLUNTEER. It takes TIME to do. WE DON'T GET PAID. A minimum baseline of respect, at the very least for the amount of effort that's involved, is only common courtesy. Did I mention that we don't get paid?

2. It's simply not workable to blog everything that someone else wants you to. This is for many reasons: RL (!) being the biggest, since the last time I checked, we all need to pay our rent/mortgage and also eat. We all have jobs. Those come first, period. See #1 above.

3. If we take more items than end up being covered, don't presume it's because we actually WANT more items. When you take the time to style looks, it's impossible to know how a finished look is going to come together without TRYING IT ON FIRST. Speaking for myself, a single photo can contain anywhere 5 to 15+ items in a single shot; therefore, don't presume that taking items has anything to do with "greediness." I, for one, could do with the least amount of items in order to minimize inventory bloatage.

4. Giving items to bloggers, like giving any item to any press person, never guarantees coverage, in any life. Ask any RL publicist if giving a writer something "guarantees" coverage, and they will laugh -- incredulously -- in your face. Unless you pay a writer, they are simply not obligated to cover your product or event, and any such coverage is 100% at the writer's discretion. As a working RL writer in music, fashion & food for years, this is how it's always worked for me (and every RL journalist I know); personally I think this whole "sense of entitlement" thing by SL creators has gone unchecked for far too long + reveals a true ignorance of how press works. If you aren't ok with the REALITY (not OUR reality, THE reality) that you may not get coverage on your item, stop villifying FREE BLOGGERS + pay for a publicist instead. See #1.

5. Check your facts first before you publish an article that specifically calls out names. (My name was on that list -- despite having supported Fashion for Life not only this year, but last year as well. In an "apology," someone said they "couldn't find" my name: a) I sign my name in BOLD BLUE LETTERS at the end of EVERY BLOG POST; b) this year's Fashion for Life 2 posts were at that time, ON THE FRONT PAGE; c) if you type in "Fashion for Life" in Search on this blog, you get literally multiple PAGES worth of hits). -- If you're gonna run an article that's deliberately incendiary, check your damn facts first. Otherwise, that's just pure laziness.

Another thing: I have been repeatedly told that my photos drive actual $L revenue to creators' stores + I am definitely not alone in this regard. This means that bloggers' photos function as FREE ADS for stores. This is yet another illustration of how the whole bitching about bloggers thing is so misdirected: it shows a genuine lack of understanding of the vital relationship between products and press (a li'l thing called Marketing, and it's in any life, not just SL!) and I find it tres coincidental that you only tend to hear this griping from lesser-known creators whose stuff isn't getting blogged (which I think is ridiculously transparent).

What the author(s) of that article utterly failed to grasp was that directing this vitriol at your own volunteers, many of whom are suffering with the menace of cancer lurking over their RL like a cloud, is simply disgusting + casts a vulgar tone over the event that affects everyone, not just those named on the list.

That is the final Shame on FFL: that this "list" served to detract from the real RL cause at hand, and left a sour taste in the very mouths of the same people who were trying to support it the most.

FFL organizer Harper Beresford did not author this article, and has taken a lot of heat for it (especially over the last few days) since she did take some actions that led the author to write it. Here's my personal stance on that: I'm not willing to villify the person who worked their ass off to make the entire event happen -- even if her actions (she compiled her own "list" of bloggers who didn't participate and made it public, which the author used to write his article) were unquestionably 1 of the things that led to this article happening in the first place. -- I spoke to her personally + extensively about this yesterday + she was very clear: she contritely owns up to anything and everything she did to make it happen (including the wrongfulness of her own comments on the FFL site re: those who did not blog). She also paid for the FFL website, donated all her time for free + insisted that every cent that was made go directly to the charity, so I for one still think that as a one-woman show to coordinate, stage + run this event from soup to nuts, she definitely still did more good than harm. (On a personal note, I guess I would just hope that if I ever seriously effed up on something, that others would be kind enough to understand that I might have my own moments of short-sightedness -- or extreme over-workedness -- as well). -- At any rate, Fashion for Life, which was 100% Harper Beresford's event, raised a buttload of money for cancer this year -- which to me, is the most important thing, even though my own name was on that repulsive list. So I say cheers to Harper!

Another rant over. Tha's all folks!