The frustrations of being a fashion blogger in second life

Leesee79, a frequent commenter on this blog has written a thought-provoking post on the frustrations that she, and I would guess other fashion bloggers feel (I’ve certainly heard it), about what she calls the “wall between some designers and bloggers”. So, I’m sharing it here, on SL Blogger Support.

I can imagine Leesee might have been somewhat trepidatious about publishing this post – and I can see why some designers might disagree with her. Perhaps some bloggers too, I don’t know.

With that said, I think it’s very important that bloggers speak their minds on their blogs, without fear of being shunned. At the same time, I know that it isn’t always easy to stick your neck out (as I do, frequently) because of the possible backlash (as I get, often 😉 ) that the internet enables from would-be keyboard warriors with axes to grind, and too much time on their hands.

So, I’m going to make an offer to you, my frustrated-fashion-bloggers (or FFBs). Send me your stories. Tell me your frustrations. I’m not beholden to anyone, I have no sponsorships to lose, and no goodies I’ll be no longer getting; besides that, I’m relatively uninhibited when it comes to calling a spade a spade. I’ll even keep your name out of it – if you like – and you can get your thoughts out there – fearlessly. Perhaps, as more bloggers come forth with legitimate frustrations, more might be encouraged to speak their minds, and an ethos of openness, fairness and professionalism might prevail.

Or, I might just be igniting all-out flame wars, let’s hope for the former.

All I ask, is that if you share your stories with me, that you keep it civil, focus on the problem – not the person, and back up your claims with evidence. Who knows, if you write a post intending to share it with me, you might even feel brave enough to do so under your own name after all, like Leecee did.


Time and Lace

Let me start by saying that this is post is going to be a little bit of a rant post. I need to get some of my frustrations out and this is my blog so I figure why not put it up here. This isn’t going to be a typical post, I’ll put a picture or two up here and I’ll link to it all at the bottom, so if you just want to see a fashion post, go to the bottom to see where I got the stuff in the pictures. This is some of my frustrations as a blogger. This is by no means to say that I’m the most popular blogger out there, far from it, I’m fairly small to a lot of people out there, so I’d hate to think of what those people go through, maybe it’s similar, maybe it’s not. This is just a…

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20 Comments on “The frustrations of being a fashion blogger in second life

  1. Wow! I wasn’t expecting this! haha Thanks for your support! I do have to admit that I was nervous posting it. But I didn’t post it to have a go at any of my sponsors, in fact, most of my sponsors are really great people who are understanding, grateful for honest feedback and are really just genuinely nice people.

    I’ve just come across some designers who aren’t that nice and the frustrations get a bit on top of me sometimes and I just felt the need to vent lol. I’m glad if it brings to light some blogger frustrations that could possibly lead to a better relationship between bloggers and designers though! Still wow! Wasn’t expecting it to get read let alone posted on here haha

    I hope that if it does start up some discussions that maybe it will help designers and bloggers have a better relationship in the future.

    Now I’m going to shrink back into my skybox and hide hahaha

    • Heh, that’s why they call it SL Blogger “Support”, right? 🙂 And yes, I know you’re not having a go at your sponsors, I was mainly pointing out that I have no sponsors to lose (only readers!) so I feel much more free to say what I want.

  2. It’s important when you’re blogging to be honest with you, what you feel, what you want (because it feels in your work, in your pics) and also with the designer. I’m not totally agree with the post of Leesee79. Not all designers encourage photoshop pics (i saw a lot of apply asking to not edit products as this could be interpret as false advertising), i don’t make photoshop, i edit a little my pics (with gimp), but not really the best on it. But she’s right on something, we’re not paid, we make publicity of products (that sometimes we have for free) but it’s essential to remember why we begin a blog. For me it’s my passion, love to sharing what i love, and with or without sponsors, i will continue. Sometimes, rules in apply are quite demanding but you have the choice to accept or not this terms. Finally, i understand totally the frustration of Leesee79, but maybe she needs to take a break and remember what she expects of her blog.
    ♥ Love ♥

    • Thanks for your thoughts Mam’zelle!

      I just want to clarify that I have no problems with the rules that my sponsors put on me, I have sponsors that have very fair rules. This wasn’t a go at all designers, it wasn’t a rant at every designer out there, it was a rant at some of the expectations that some designers have. The one’s who knock back bloggers for not photoshopping their pictures, while being in the minority, still have those expectations of bloggers. I wasn’t putting out a blanket statement to all designers, as I’ve stated in a few replies, I have met some really nice designers, some really lovely people. Just some of the expectations that I’ve come across by the few are absurd.

      I never said that I am in the groups that ask these things of bloggers, on the rare occasion that I have overlooked a rule while applying for a group, once it’s discovered I have left the group. I just stated that they are unfair to bloggers. I have no trouble with my blog, I enjoy what I do, yes sometimes it’s stressful but I thrive on the stress of an event at times. I just recently took a week or so break due to being ill, if I need to step back I have no problems in doing so.

      It doesn’t make the expectations of some designers any less unfair to bloggers whether any of us choose to take them up on their terms or not. There will still be some people out there who will let designers bully them. My post was just a personal vent at having a designer wanting their name taken down because the detail couldn’t be seen on a nail applier even though it could be seen that an applier was being worn. It was an opinion. I wasn’t saying that I’m right and that everyone is wrong. It’s just my experiences. If I could have met the designers you met that didn’t want edited pictures, then I would still be using snapshots straight out of sl to flickr instead of ones I do a little work to in photoshop. Everyone has a different experience blogging and essentially my post was just about my experience and the frustrations I’ve come across

  3. I will begin by stating that the story Leesee relates at the beginning of her rant post is absurd. I can’t imagine a designer not wanting their item listed in a post simply because there isn’t a detail photo. Although, there are many accessory designers who require detail photos, and I completely understand this request; it is reasonable (to me) to want your product to be viewed clearly. I will never apply to blog for an accessory designer. This is because I don’t create detail photos. In her story, however, it seemed like there was no such agreement between the blogger and the designer. Without such an agreement, there are no grounds for the designer to complain or request to be removed as a listed designer. This is exactly why designers and event coordinators create criteria for the bloggers they choose. And even if those criteria are stringent at times, it is exactly why we need them. So, while I disagree with the way Leesee was treated at the beginning of the post, I also disagree with her critique of designer criteria.

    I think it is important to understand what the intention of your blog is when applying to blog for particular designers or events. It works on both sides, though. It is important for designers to understand what they want from their bloggers when choosing them (and to actually look at a blogger’s blog before offering items if the blog isn’t going to fit what they wish).

    I cannot say that my experiences are similar to Leesee’s, but I do understand that there is so much frustration out there. My blog has performed two roles. At first, it was very utilitarian. I never edited anything. The shots were mostly in a studio and were intended to simply show the outfit and show it well (albeit, I wasn’t that great of a photographer). I quit blogging for a year, and I returned. When I returned, my photos were much more artistic and most of my fashion was fantasy. Now, I take joy in creating the photos almost as much as creating the outfits. I edit (though very little and somewhat poorly). I had more sponsors when I did NOT edit my photography. I don’t think it is fair to say that simply because someone says that your photography isn’t good enough that implies they want your work photoshopped. I think what they really meant to say is that it didn’t suit them. It doesn’t have to. I’m certain my blog photos right now wouldn’t suit everyone. They suit me. I love my work, and I love trying to improve it.

    Honestly, I don’t think of my blog as free advertising for designers (maybe because I don’t have that many views). I think of it as a way for me to work with some designers (or event coordinators) to create something new (my new outfit and photograph). Most of the time when I’ve dealt with designers and event coordinators, this is what they’ve enjoyed. They’ve enjoyed seeing their work in a way they didn’t expect or, maybe even, exactly as they envisioned it. That is what I love about blogging now.

    What we often forget (and is so terribly important to remember) is that not every blogger is for every designer and not every designer is for every blogger. So, if I see a designer that has criteria that are too stringent for me to accept, I don’t consider it an affront to me. I don’t think of their criteria as being absurd (although, it may be sometimes). I just shrug and move on and think they aren’t the designer for me, and I’m not the blogger for them.

    I don’t know that a bunch of rants on social media about designers is going to clear up any animosity that may exist between bloggers and designers. That seems terribly optimistic and (maybe?) a bit unfair. Obviously, bloggers have the edge when it comes to social media. Although, certainly bloggers should be able and willing to speak their mind and be open on their own blogs. However, that isn’t what my blog is about and it isn’t what the intention of my blog is, personally. I don’t critique items, I don’t rant about social issues, and I don’t air my grievances about SecondLife. I’ll save that for Facebook and my friends’ IM boxes. 🙂 I keep my blog positive. I use items I love and blog designers I love. I take pretty photos. Those are the intentions of my blog. Though, obviously, others’ intentions may be completely different. That is why I stated in the beginning, it is important to keep yout intentions in mind.

    • Hi MultiMuse,

      I enjoyed reading your reply, it gave me a few things to think about. I just wanted to touch on a few things,

      In the example I gave where I said the pictures weren’t good enough, I should have relayed the full conversation, it came down to not photoshopped, I left the rest of it out when I shouldn’t have. I really, honestly was not expecting this kind of reaction to my post. It was an airing of my frustrations on my blog. Emphasis on mine. I run my blog the way I want to, I write what I want to, I’ll review what I want to and I’ll make the outfits I want to. Everyone runs their blog in their own way, mine just evolves with my moods.

      It’s a shame that you don’t see your blog as advertising. If you’re not advertising for sponsors then you’re certainly advertizing yourself! If you want people to look at your blog, then essentially you have to advertise. I guess I just see it a little differently because I’m studying advanced diplomas in the topic and have used my blog as a digital marketing tool as a way to practice real world skills that I’ve learnt and continue to learn in class.

      I agree that not every designer is for every blogger and not every blogger is for every designer. I have left groups when they haven’t fit because I’m not in it for the free items. That’s just a bonus. I blogged before sponsors, I’ll blog if I don’t have any, I do it because I enjoy it, I just find that since it’s become a mini business for me that I’ve gotten more into it as I’ve applied things I’ve learnt in real life.

      I don’t consider it an affront as such, I do think it’s unfair to many bloggers out there that are starting out, who may have really awesome skills with picture taking and may have an awesome blog, but because they don’t have the flickr views or aren’t syndicated to three feeds or aren’t over six months old, they miss out and essentially the designer misses out on what could be a really good thing.

      • Leesee,

        I’m sorry. i did not intend to imply that my reasons for blogging should be your reasons. I was just explaining where I, personally, come from. Certainly, there are a wide array of reasons why fashion bloggers blog. I also didn’t mean to imply that blogging cannot be used as a means for advertising, just that it isn’t my main purpose (advertising for designers). Although, it is definitely an ancillary benefit. I can only hope that by sharing the designers I love that it may mean they will receive more sales. There is a differentiation that can be made here — simply because I “have” to advertise in order to get people to view my blog, doesn’t mean that it is the intention of my blog. But, perhaps, that is why I have so few views. Honestly, I would mostly abandon my blog and stick to Flickr if I could still work for the events that I love (I still credit on flickr). I consider it a much more powerful medium than the blog itself for what *I* do…which is share my photos. 🙂

        To be fair, I have very few sponsors and I am only an official blogger for two recurring events. So, this whole issue probably impacts me much less than other bloggers. And most of my sponsors originally approached me rather than vice versa.

        I think you’re right that the stringency of some designers’ qualifications may prevent them from having some really good bloggers. Although, I find what you’re saying to be a bit of a contradiction. If someone considers their blog to be an advertising medium, then it only makes sense that designers would want to assure it is being seen (unseen advertising isn’t very beneficial). They can measure that in a few objective ways: number of hits, feeds it is on, social media being used, etc. It seems to me, the more a designer thinks of bloggers as merely a means of advertising (and the more we only think of ourselves as such) the more reason they have to focus on these base criteria rather than on content, personality, aesthetic compatibility, etc.

      • Hi MultiMuse 🙂

        That’s fine, I’m sorry if I came across as more defensive as I meant to in my reply, I think tone is something that is very hard to read in text so sometimes things can come across wrong 🙂

        I agree that flickr is a powerful medium, I get most of my views from flickr and facebook, they’re two of the biggest marketing platforms for sl blogs in my opinion.

        “I think you’re right that the stringency of some designers’ qualifications may prevent them from having some really good bloggers. Although, I find what you’re saying to be a bit of a contradiction. If someone considers their blog to be an advertising medium, then it only makes sense that designers would want to assure it is being seen (unseen advertising isn’t very beneficial). They can measure that in a few objective ways: number of hits, feeds it is on, social media being used, etc. It seems to me, the more a designer thinks of bloggers as merely a means of advertising (and the more we only think of ourselves as such) the more reason they have to focus on these base criteria rather than on content, personality, aesthetic compatibility, etc.”

        You are correct in what you say above, it is a bit of a contradiction, but I look at it in the same way as I look at real life employment, it’s the good old catch 22 of you can’t get a job without experience but you need the job to get experience sort of thing. Some of the newer bloggers, while not being as seen as some of the more established bloggers, if given a chance, would possibly get those requirements quicker if they had items to blog and something to strive towards. It’s really something that happens in a lot of things in life, not just blogging. I think my problem is I see things from an analytical point of view, I try to see both sides of a situation, so I’m always contradicting myself in a lot of ways because I will start to see things from both sides while I’m trying to make a point haha.

        I have worked very hard to get my blog to where it is, I spammed the hell out of every social media platform I can think of. Should all bloggers do this? No, only if you are interested in making it more work than hobby. I did it because I’m passionate about marketing, I love seeing what works and what doesn’t. I’m also passionate about the outfits I make, I like the creativity. While sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out and I might have a bit of a rant. I love what I do. I love looking at the statistics on my facebook page and seeing what posts are more popular than others, then trying to work out why (and trust me this post has made me completely rethink my blog, maybe I should write more opinions because this is my best day ever hahaha) It gets me excited to try and work out what works better in terms of marketing my blog, but this is because it’s what I’m working towards making into a real life job.

        If people want to keep it as a hobby then I say don’t get sponsors, then you don’t have obligations and it will stay something that you love. If however people want to get more sponsors and want to get their blog more views etc then they have to think in terms of marketing and put more work in. As far as content, personality, aesthetic and compatibility goes, this should go with the base criteria, for blogging to really work you need all of it. There’s nothing worse to me than looking at post after post of uninspired pictures. But that’s just me. (sorry for my long ramble of a reply! I love getting views on this topic and get carried away with discussion XD)

      • “trust me this post has made me completely rethink my blog, maybe I should write more opinions because this is my best day ever hahaha”

        This sentence is probably the most important one on this whole blog post and comment thread for anyone trying to improve traffic to their blog and “get on the map”. Read it a few times and commit it to memory. It’s what I’ve been telling readers of this blog to do for months, and now you can see proof as to how well it works.

  4. I read this post yesterday and I agree on the part that we do advertise for our sponsors and non sponsors, cos most of the time you need to buy stuff for posts, but I don’t agree that we don’t get paid, of course we do! For example: how much a hair fatpack costs? And how many hair styles a designer sends in a pack, week, etc.? Let’s say 2500L and he/she sent 3 hairs in one week, that’s 7500L. I know most of us wouldn’t buy the fatpack, but let’s say that for every hair pack the designer sends you he is loosing the income from one person which is 250L for each hair style if you don’t buy fatpacks or variety packs – and most important you’re saving those 250L from your own money. If you add that up to all your sponsors actually we do get paid and really well and I actually been seen that cos I buy less lindens than I used to because I don’t spend as much as I used to when I didn’t have much sponsors, so I even see that on rl money.

    I’m not gonna talk about picture quality frustration cos I suffer from it everyday with my own pictures, cos I still need to improve a lot, but I don’t think designers ask people to use photoshop, besides the fact that there are other programs like gimp and even online editing sites like pic monkey or fotor, I’ve noticed that most of the quality in a pic comes from Second Life, I’ve seen amazing blogger’s pictures without edition. Now, for me Photoshop is like the unknown dimension and that’s why I love it so much, cos if you learn the basics looking at YouTube or design webpages tutorials when you master those basic skills you’ll start doing other things for yourself and start creating things differently so most of it you’ll learn by yourself and you don’t stop learning, I’ve been using photoshop for a while now and every time I edit a picture I learn something new. So it’s a matter to try and play.

    I think I said enough already but I can’t finish my comment without saying what I tell myself every time I’m blogging frustrated: no one asked me to be a blogger, I do it because I wanted to and I like to do it, I like it because I love taking pictures and play Barbie, so if someone is too tired or too frustrated take a break, talk to your sponsors by telling them you will be taking a break, come back whenever you want with a fresh attitude and start doing one of the most fun things to do which is doing pictures. 🙂

  5. I think that this is a great post. I think some amazing bloggers and artists get overlooked because they don’t photoshop. I’ve also thought pictures were photoshopped and weren’t. I blog for me and I have sponsors but if I don’t feel passionately about that item or that event, I don’t apply. As a blog manager, I try to let everyone who’s applied know why they weren’t accepted I hate not knowing why I wasn’t accepted to an event or a store. I know for many this isn’t a fair expectation and I don’t ever expect to be notified but it is frustrating because we want to improve our blogs and that feedback would be nice. (not expected but nice.) I have stepped away from a few sponsors and let go by a few sponsors. Some just didn’t fit my look anymore and others I didn’t fit their style anymore. I agree with leesee about the syndications. I don’t really see the point of them. I don’t view blogs from syndicated feeds much, but I watch facebook and will look at blogs from there. Syndications at the start I think were a great idea, now they’re just to big, to overflowing and heaven forbid you apply to one it can take you months to hear back.

    I took a big step back from blogging because I was getting frustrated, my pictures weren’t coming how I wanted, and there was freedom in that. Now I keep up with my sponsors requirements (sometimes more) and I just have fun with it. I write, I tell a story and if people want to follow me, fantastic. If my blog is wordy for them, well that’s okay too there are other bloggers out there that fit their needs and their style.

  6. I have written about this several times (bliss windlow – blissimo) over the years. I could type a bunch in here but will offer instead a link to the last article I wrote which supports much of your experience and looks at it a bit deeper. I have worked television and magazines in Second Life and am suggesting that the designers are not capitalizing on the benefit that bloggers are to their businesses. Hope it helps :)!

  7. I need to apologise in advance for my english, I hope I will be able to express my feelings.
    First of all, I wanted to thank you for the great statement, for being able to speak most of ours thoughts. I felt invited to say something as a blogger, or let’s say – as a sparkly unicorn who ended up here. To get my background, I do Photoshop my photos, I do have enough Flickr views and I blog because it is my passion and only way to keep my mind’s sanity when I come home.
    And I am saying that only to try to get to the point.

    I do think that essential things what lack between bloggers and designers are sometimes OPEN COMMUNICATION or LACK OF RULES. I am not a control freak, but yes. Rules.
    I think that root of all problems are basically either designer who is unavailable, either blogger who is too afraid to not to be accepted. I know that many new bloggers are too afraid to speak their mind about their personal style or rules they have, IF they were actually sit down, think through and set their own. If they don’t apply because of wrong reasons, to get free items. From my experience, every designer you apply to blog for actually love to hear your side of story and are ready to talk about details, about your style and your way of thinking. Even sometimes about your problems. So….

    1. Photoshop – I never experienced that someone have a “need Photoshop” criteria. I’ve seen tons of great bloggers doing only a hint of editing photos or not at all, but their ideas overpowered it all. And I am stunned by their virtuosity. I NEEDED to use Photoshop not because I’m so cool or super-crafty human-unicorn being, but because my Mac combined with my internet signal in my county is not in love affair, more in open war. My avatar has been bald, my hair was turned into mess, my eyes looks like I’m pure evil etc. I needed it. What I think about PS is that blogs should be graded by CREATIVITY, not skills which can be learned or achieved with boosted machines. Blog should rate by quality, not quantity or learned skills who can over-power any meaningfull idea.

    2. 2. Flickr views – it’s a tricky thing. It can be boosted, it can be cheated. Flickr for some works on simple things – “give=get”. It is full of bad things, but it is full of amazing things. But yet, it IS somehow my favourite social network related to SL. Since I remember (and I am for 7y in SL), there was tons of people who even had their blogs only there. It is easy to connect, easy to share photos in a group and easy for designers to follow you and your work there. So, yes, I do love Flickr, but it should not be rule to have enough views (let’s say there was some designers asking 1000+ per pic) and to be criteria to disregard someone in blogger application process.

    3. “Being payed” – I must say I strongly disagree with Nanny on her statement above. We DO NOT get payed. We cannot count our work in money. Because money in blogger world is close to fiction. I do believe that more than half blogger have no idea how their last post would cost if buying it all. I will apologise if I’m wrong. But I never keep exact track on how something cost nor I will blog something simple because it “cost much”. If blogging because saving money as said “cos I buy less lindens than I used to because I don’t spend as much as I used to when I didn’t have much sponsors, so I even see that on rl money”, I simple think it is wrong. It is only my opinion, but I do think we pay with every nice word we get and we payed off with creativity and – countable – commercial to certain designer (or commercial to a blogger in reverse, except that bloggers don’t get payed by fb likes or flickr faves).

    But somehow I think that most important thing about blogging you claimed in this sentence: “I’ve had to deal with some really rude designers while blogging, and it makes me wonder why, it’s like some designers think that because we blog, because we get given free items that we should feel privileged and that we owe them something for that right.” Some people grade everything in money. Worst experience I had is when once one then young designer send me his item while me being offline. He did not give me his details, his requirements, explained his style (when I couldn’t see the rest of his items). Most important, he DID NOT GIVE ME THE CHOICE to accept or refuse beforehand he gave me his item. When I logged in, I explained my rules with what he agreed and he told me how he found me and said how he like my style so I can blog it or not, it is on me. After the talk, I realised how I don’t see myself wearing that item. I asked for the links of more items, saw something what fits my style (since, again, I did not applied myself!) and asked that. He refused to send the item. Then, for the sake of promoting new designer who had potential, I decided to put him on “to do list” for that month. Item I got was not participating in any fair and was not ANYHOW time limited to blog. After only few days, I got removed from his friends list and got quite rude note. Also, I got bad, disrespectfull review on my flickr where I was WEARING OTHER PEOPLE’S WORK + MY OWN PICTURE. Also, I’ve heard about bad stuff he’s been telling about me, how I OWE HIM because I accepted the item. To repeat, I did not apply for that person. He was not official sponsor. He did not give me choice to return item. He did not said his requirements.

    So, in conclusion, I must agree on all: I think we should start to love and respect our blogger-designer symbiosis a lot more. Blogger should be able to express themselves in terms they initially accept, and in any case of change – if designer change the rule, blogger can leave, if reverse, designer can kick him/her out.
    But never to disrespect someone’s time or efforts.
    Let’s spread the unicornish-sparkle everywhere.

    Thank you. (and don’t kill me with the hammer because I wrote this much)

    • Great post Kirsten! I have a post in the pipeline that is done now, but you’ve mentioned another interesting aspect to this which I will reference in that post coming out tomorrow 🙂

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  9. In regards to the original post, for the most part i do agree with Leesee and her frustrations. I have never had a designer complain about a product that they did not give me. So I find that quite funny. Sometimes the requirements of designers seem a bit farfetched but I contribute that to the mass amount of unprofessional bloggers that exist. Those bloggers who are only it for free items and not really blogging has ruined it for those who are serious about blogging. This has resulted in some of the silly demands that designers put upon real bloggers.

    Unlike leesee I do feel that we do get paid. It might not be in Lindens or RL dollars but it is in the form of merchandise. As another poster said, majority of us are not going to buy fat packs and designers if generous send those out to bloggers. So in essence we are receiving some form of payment.

    I blog because its fun, would I like more sponsors? Sure, but I know at times I have to deal with the fact i will get rejected more so than accepted. Because the reality is SL lllto an extent is a popularity contest and at times is about who you know. So although its probably 100s of excellent bloggers, they might get overlooked because they are not consider “One of the best”

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