Sunday, May 8, 2011

In which Emerald unleashes her inner bitch and channels Emily Post

I noticed today that I have 100 followers, and I have to admit I got kind of teary for a few minutes. I realize 100 followers is nothing compared to many SL blogs, but the fact that 100 people occasionally care about anything I have to say, well, it kind of makes up for the fact that in real life I often feel like nobody cares about anything I have to say.  [insert the screechy violin here]

(Yeah sorry, I'm in a dark place again. If I grope you on accident, it's only because I'm reaching out blindly in search of the Exit door. I hang on to the words of Winston Churchill: "If you're going through hell, keep going." And I highly recommend the obscure song "Down in a Hole," by James Taylor for those times when you're in the Black too. Drink it up and chase it with some Wellbutrin.)

Anyway, thank you to all of you who read this ridiculous thing. I wish I were a creator so I could create something and give it to everyone as a thank-you gift.

OK, enough with the emo. It's time for a part of the blog I like to call . . .


As long as we're on the topic of gratitude and creators, please allow me to share some feelings of frustration.

Some time ago — maybe way over a year ago, yikes — blogger Chic Aeon posted some helpful tips for other bloggers. One of them really resonated with me, which was, to paraphrase, "if you blog a creator's work, be sure to drop that creator a friendly note and let that person know it."

So for a while I tried to do that whenever I could. To me, using this blog to communicate just how much I love a dress, furniture, a house, etc., is the best way I can thank that creator for making my SL more fun and beautiful. Telling creators that I blogged their items is simply letting them know that I wrote them a public thank-you note, in case they care to read it. I don't drop these notecards because I expect effusive thank-yous in return from those designers. I don't do it to schmooze. I don't do it in the hopes of getting future review copies. I just do it to express my gratitude.

I will say that about 60 percent of those notecards are ignored (which is why I'm gun shy about doing it now). The classy creators at least IM and acknowledge the fact that they received it. A few write thank-you notes back. It's kind of an interesting "Whose mama raised them right?" test, actually.

A few weeks ago, I exchanged words with a designer that got under my skin so much, maybe the only way I can let it go is to write it down.

She made a dress I loved, so in a previous post I wrote a longer-than-usual paragraph about how much I loved it. Yeah, it was a little bit rambling and got off track for a few sentences and the picture was amateurish, but hey, that's how it is over here. People either like it or run away screaming. Anyway, my RL was hectic at the time, so it wasn't until probably more than a week later that I was able to drop my "Hi, I loved your [item] - just a heads up that I blogged about it [here], etc." note. She IM'ed back, "yeah I read that [post] a while ago thanks."

It felt like a brush-off. And I'm not going to lie — it hurt my feelings. I wasn't expecting a cookie or orgasmic screams of delight or anything, but I was kind of surprised that she read someone raving about her work and apparently just shrugged or whatever. I interpreted her IM as, "yeah whatever — your blog is no big deal." (I'll be the first person to agree with that sentiment, actually.)

So I guess I'm having a difficult time relating to that response — or to any creator, for that matter, who reads a flattering blog post about her or his work and doesn't take two seconds to acknowledge it. If I were a creator who worked hard to make beautiful things, and I stumbled across a blog that was praising it — even if it wasn't one of the big, exciting fashion blogs; even if it was goofy with bad pictures and not to my taste; even if it was written by a person with only two readers — I would express my sincere gratitude to that blogger. Hell, if I didn't have time to IM or write a note, I'd at least write a "thank you!' comment on the post.

Because you know what, Designer Who Doesn't Give a Damn? That person liked your work so much that she/he took the time to put it on, pose with it, take photos — no matter how crappy — and sit down at a keyboard and try to find the right words to tell other people how great it is.

In a blogger's world, that's the equivalent of poring over prims and textures in long, meticulous attempts to get them just right.

I can't even imagine how many SL blogs are out there, so I get that you don't have time to offer lengthy, eloquent and poetic thanks to every blogger who writes about you. But damn, if that blogger even reaches out to you in world and says, "I loved your dress/necklace/etc. so much I wrote about it" and gives you the link, at least have the decency to respond, "Thank you, that means a lot to me." (Especially if you, in fact, "read that a while ago.") That simple phrase works even if you can't stand the blog, cringed at the pictures or thought the post was horrible. Forget the writing — strip that post down to its bare bones: The admiration of your work and the gesture of wanting to share that admiration publicly with others.

Because here's the thing: At the end of the day, it's the little, insignificant people like me — the common folk, the ones who don't get your blogger review packs, the ones who like your work so much they spend precious lindens on it — who are going to keep your business alive. We're the ones who are actually spending the money.

Here's the point I really want to make, though:

Dear Designer Who Doesn't Doesn't Give a Damn,

I blogged your work. I let you know. I wanted you to know that I liked it so much, I gave it my time and I gave it my words, which for me are two of the most precious things I have to give. But you're busy. You're used to the oohs and aahs. You have a shiteload of notecards to read. For whatever reason, you shrugged it off. End of story. That's cool. I never expected you to throw a parade. I wasn't writing for your approval anyway.

But I'll bet you my teeny little linden balance that if I would have blogged your work and ripped on how ridiculous or unsightly it was, that response would have changed from a delayed "yeah I read that a while ago thanks" to an immediate uproar of outrage from not only you, but from other designers and all your friends, screeching about how hard you worked on it and how dare I have the audacity to criticize it. The Plurkers would get all up in that link. Ban lists would get longer. The drama llama would dance a happy dance. 

You can't spend a few moments of your time to acknowledge a blogger who likes your work, but I'm pretty sure you'd find the time to start a crusade if that blogger dared to publicly criticize it. I know because I've seen it happen too many times.

**kicks over the soap box and ends rant**

Happy Mother's Day! :D


Tigo Volare said...

YES! It's about time that some arrogant creators realise how manners and common decency can make a world of difference.Often I see creators profiles filled with : "Dont IM me" "Im too busy" "read my 1001 rules before contacting me", or sometimes even worse, a lot of swearing and bitching. They ignore the fact that YOU and other bloggers are doing the PR for them without asking anything back. I guess some people just will never realise how much luck they have, until it's gone.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, I have had a similar experience and it made me not want to do it at all for anyone again.

Now this one just sounds so rude though, I wish that people that do this would be aware of their behaviors and how much it can put someone off.

Renee Harvy said...

I'm always happy to be blogged. I don't recall ever stumbling across my work showcased on someone's blog (or in a store ad, or just standing around in a sim; anywhere I've ever seen someone liking my work enough to wear it) and not being thrilled about. But I may not have always expressed that appreciation.

I receive quite a few notes each week pointing me towards posts. Sometimes there are several waiting for me when I log in. And I imagine other designers who's work appears more consistently on the feeds must receive even more. Sometimes I comment on the post, sometimes I respond to note cards, and sometimes (not often), I don't do anything. It has nothing to do with my gratitude and pleasure at the appreciation of my work. It has everything to do with how busy/overwhelmed/short on time I happen to be when I realize my item has been blogged.

I want to say that, because I read that designer's response and could see myself there. Could see where being sloppy about HOW she responded could be interpreted as a slight. I can also imagine that she was as genuinely happy about it as I always am, and just did a poor job communicating that.

I will be more careful, and more contentious about it in the future and you are absolutely right that common courtesy demands at least that much. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

Deoridhe said...

I do the same thing - a notecard to creators. I sometimes feel a little embarrassed about it, though.

These days I'm doing a lot of questioning about the exchange of time and goods, not just in Second Life but in general. Money for goods, work for money, and how the non-monetary aspects of things effect how I feel about the monetary effect. Gratitude is one of those really odd things I give a certain amount of thought to because... there seem to be so many unspoken rules about it, and they vary widely from person to person.

Which isn't to say I disagree with your premise necessarily - if one gets a response it's nice to get a grateful one - but it makes me think about designers who complain about negative reviews of their work and my own experience with a designer who 1) was amused at my critique of something she made and 2) actually took the time to edit it to fit my shape. It seems like bloggers (as a whole, not you specifically) could extend some of the grace I personally thing designers could in terms of how people respond to what we put out there.

Which isn't to say creators couldn't stand to be more grateful for free PR, but ...I dunno, part of me objects to being viewed as free PR, so my thoughts on it are very muddled at the moment.

Emerald Wynn said...

Renee, I like your shoes. :)

I don't want people to think I'm saying that every time I blog something, that designer should come running to me to shower me with undying gratitude.

The last thing I want is for some creator to see his/her work on my page and say, "Sh*t, now I have to fawn all over her with thanks or she'll get all yappy about it."

Yes, it's unfortunate that some creators are too busy to stop for a few minutes and respond to the people who publicly express appreciation for their work and do what they can to tell others about it.

It's even more unfortunate when in-world compliments - from both customers and bloggers - aren't even acknowledged or are met with a brisk "I don't have time for you" answer. Some of us interpret the silence as a lack of appreciation for customers or a sense of entitlement.

In this case, it's the combination of the two, I guess, that set me off. The whole "yeah I saw it a while ago. thanks" kind of had a "whatever" or an "of course you blogged it - everyone does" tone. Sheeeeesh - can't I at least get an exclamation point or a smiley face or something?

(To that designer's credit, at least she said something. The two other people on that page who got notecards "accepted inventory" and didn't respond at all. )

I felt embarrassed that I had said anything at all to any of them that day, frankly.

Joonie said...

Emerald Wynn - I love you. But that's another issue. This post was so spot on and funny as hell. Luckily, I would say 90% of creators are gracious, wonderful, grateful people. But there's always one or two who start believing their own hype and think they don't have to be kind to "the little people." I love what you say about finding out It's kind of an interesting... "Whose mama raised them right?" It's about class and style. As a fashion creator, you would think they would know about such things. Most do. Some don't. I'm sorry you had the misfortune of having to bump up against one of them. At least now you know who to avoid.

Love your blog, Emerald. It keeps me smiling and nodding in agreement. *hugs*

Emerald Wynn said...

Deoridhe, good point.

I guess, let's put the blogging thing aside for a minute, what I'm trying to say is this:

"I completely understand that there are a gazillion bloggers out there and you don't have time to personally thank each one, but if I pay you a compliment inworld, whether it's as a blogger or a customer, please take a moment to demonstrate that you value the people who have made you as successful as you are -- and that would be the customers, first and foremost, as well as the bloggers -- by acknowledging that compliment."

I'm dying laughing at the length of that sentence. I was going to go back and break it up, but I think I'll leave it like that.

Gogo said...

You can count me as 1 of your 100 subscribers :D I have your blog on my reader for easy reading.

I've stopped IMing designers years ago when I blog them cos, well, I just assume they read my blog.

Designers will rarely ever IM in-world to say hey, thanks for blogging me, I liked that post, or I didn't like that post, but they seem to respond swiftly to any "negative" critiques. Go figure.

Deoridhe said...

*giggles at Emerald* For true length, needs moar semi-colons.

I agree, though - showing appreciation for customers is a very good thing. I also agree the often aggressive tone in creator's profiles can be off-putting. Funnily, I found one creator with a very aggressive profile was actually perfectly sweet when I spoke to her, but the profile made me nervous!


YES a thousand times YES and particularly the fact that if you had been negative about it, the fallout would have been huge.

It never, EVER hurts to type those little words 'oh thanks so much', does it? Really?

Last week I sent off a HUGE rl job that I was proud of and I'd done to a particularly tight deadline.

The client mailed me and said 'can I have the bill right away because I have to get it in the system before I go on vacation'. And me being me I said 'thanks, and sure, but HOW WAS THE TEXT'? Because he is the sort that usually picks fault with everything. Over and over.

His answer: "I didn't see the need to ask for any clarifications on this one".

Period. Not 'thanks for meeting the deadline', or even 'great job' (it was, it *was*).

I am *trying* to see it is a compliment. And failing. But at least I get paid for it, eh?


Elle Couerblanc said...

The world of fashion blogs are a bit like high school. Everyone pays attention the "beautiful girls with their beautiful pictures" that at times they overlook the one (I view as beautiful) with substance. But how did many of these "beautful girls" end up in their 30s and 40s? Fat, unhappy and in a bad marriage. Fuck the brush offs, just keep doing what you enjoy and in the end you will end up like Bill Gates - rich, happy and with a fabulous charity that is changing the word.

*Feel free to not post, I just wanted to let you know how I fee.

Anonymous said...

To bring up a couple of points...

Yes as Tigo said I do feel that designers who are uppity and antisocial in their profiles tend to erk me. You can't have a successful business without customers, so ease up a little, eh?

As a Blogger I know that I generally don't send out notecards after I've blogged someone's work. Generally they find it after a while and thank me for it. I've even had a couple designers give me gift cards in appreciation. Not that I expected any of it at all.

As a Designer, I feel lucky to get blogged at all. I can count how many notecards I've gotten with links on one hand in truth. But when I do find one I generally 1) comment on their post 2) link back to that post on my store blog and 3) try to add them to the store's Flickr Group (now that I have one).

I guess since I've been on both sides of the coin, I feel that the bloggers deserve as much credit as the designers since really they are the best form of advertising (good or bad) that any designer can ever hope for.

Anonymous said...

Text is tricky.
She may have been really happy that you sent the note, and her text didn't convey the smile on her face, or the gratitude she felt.

But you like the dress and you told people about it.
Some people, perhaps those to whom English is not a first language, don't come across well when using it.

Once I gave a German a 'gift' and there was silence..dead silence. I asked 'Was that wrong for me to do?' He said, 'Why do you want to poison me?'
'gift' in German means 'poison.'

What you did was show her dress and express your admiration for it. What she did when you sent her a note, was....maybe wonder, which blog was it on? What dress? My head hurts from hitting it on the door. My boyfriend is cheating on me. Oh, yes, the dress......

Hugs Emerald. You are one of the sweetest people I know.
I don't even show up as one of the 100 followers..I bet there are a lot more like me who love your blog, your pics and your honest feelings.

Mystery Thorne

Serenity Semple said...

As always a wonderful post. I can definitely relate since most of the stuff I'm blogging is what I'm buying unless by the rare off shoot chance I get a package - which almost never happens. XD I really am glad there's bloggers out there who will just speak their minds or share what they like instead of just putting it on because it got sent to me. Don't get me wrong they have their purpose too but I appreciate blogs that are more like yours - they just have a depth to them that can't be replaced. <3