Posted by an Honored Guest
A 3-D Rejection of Public Relations on the Web
Today, we are especially pleased to post a guest column by Urizenus Sklar, founder and contributing editor of The Second Life Herald.
First, by way of introduction... a few weeks ago we explored the increasing rejection of PR on the World Wide Web. Regrettably, last week Paul Holmes confirmed our greatest fear, i.e. the industry seems to be in near total denial. In an article titled Wiki Whackiness, Paul tried to isolate the issue exclusively to Wikipedia. Fact is, Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, is only bowing to the rising political pressure in cyberspace. PR is being shunned and summarily locked out of all things social media. In an interview Wales said, "PR-firms editing in a community space is deeply unethical, and clients should put very firm pressure on their PR firms not embarrass them this way."
Well, this last week we saw the latest shoe to drop. The launch of Crayon, claiming to be "the world's first new marketing company," in Second Life, the Web's premier 3-D virtual world, was harshly panned. Without further ado, here's Uri.
EDITORS NOTE: Urizenus Sklar, a.k.a. Peter Ludlow, Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Michigan, is author and editor of numerous books, including Crypto Anarchy, Cyberstates, and Pirate Utopias (MIT Press, 2001). In June, 2006, Ludlow was called "One of the 10 Most Influential Video Game Players of All Time" by MTV.com.
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Weblog: Pierce Mattie Public Relations New York, LA & Atlanta
Tracked: Nov 01, 08:40
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I agree that the launch of Crayon was totally forced - and was bound to piss off most long time Second Lifers.
There were a lot of egos and lots of crap buzz phrases - "It's all about collaborating not competing," "We want to talk," "Change the World," "I invented the phrase 'New Marketing'". There wann't much substance on what they'll actually do (Coke is a client) or how they'll make money, but a bit intriguing too.
As you know, my firm is meeting some interesting folks in SL. So, this increased visibility for any SL effort might be a good thing for us marketers looking at "new" media to speak with folks/potential customers. But similarly, it is important for Peter Ludlow and other long-time residents (or smart newbies) to point out hypocracies, studipidities and exploitation.
To prove that I'm still playing my First Life role as PR investigator (or hypocrite), I sent a note to CC Chapman, a founder with some clips for Topaz Partners client Podcast Ready (including a cool interview we did in SL with TheStreet.com) to see if we might colloborate or work together. Haven't heard back from him - my reputation in the market must suck.
I'm inclined to see what actually comes out of this gathering of practitioners at Crayon. I'll be in the background to see if this box of crayons can produce something as important as my son's 1st grade art work hanging in my kitchen.
As I shared in a comment on your blog, I do understand your point - and posted my response several weeks ago in an addendum to the Gallery post acknowledging that this was more of a gallery of corporate firsts in Second Life (a point conveniently missing from your post). As in every new effort, there will be marketers that make mistakes and also campaigns like our recent Intel Living Windows event with Versu and Millions of Us that will be accepted by the community as authentic. My view is that marketing which involves the community instead of isolating it will continue to win praise from most SL residents.
As I've said before, Second Life is for those without a first life. Building a company for 300,000 freaky floaters? Most of whom don't have a wallet to sit on to begin with? Nice business model. I happen to know and like the participants in Crayon but what a bone-headed thing to be proud of...
"In the end, I wonder if I should even care."
Oh but you do care! Why else would you be ranting across the web?
"Flaming jet boots gave way to scale models of Adidas."
Dead wrong. Flaming jet boots still exist, flying cars still exist, snail races still exist. Corporate entries have done nothing but add more choices, and some very fun choices at that. Some projects will succeed and some will fail. That's the same story for every resident project too. The creativity and energy of SL remains unhindered.
Some people, god forbid, might want to drive a flying saucer AND a scion (or sentra). Hamlet's article comparing traffic was completely bogus -- you can't compare a longstanding resident business using camping chairs to inflate traffic to a 1 week old project using nothing but word of mouth for promotion and which does not attempt to artificially inflate traffic.
I don't see a whole lot of rationality in this debate, just knee-jerk emotion. SL is not going to be a backwater utopia, sorry. If it is going to grow and have any shot at being a metaverse-level player, it needs to have room for everyone big and small.
Our tech PR firm has been having fun in SL - helps that the client you met with, Podcast Ready, has a pool/hot tub, jet ski, movie screen, etc. I can justify it at work because we've even had journalists interview/publish - and most importatntly, we got to hang out with you in SL.
For now, I'm still intrigued by major brands joing the SL community a few years late. I'm also intrigued how overt (aka clueless) marketers are behaving and being perceived.
As such a couple of us have launched a new group - Fucktards with Feelings ...
Fucktards are people too.
We are a shrinking number of marketing and PR professionals who will try not ruin all that is good about Second Life.
You couldn't care less
For the crap we are flinging
Annoy in both worlds
Care to join?
I never saw this wonderful utopia that Urizenus lovingly refers to. All I saw in the 8 months he was gone and some time before that was ugly clubs, casinoes, hookers, strippers, and businesses trying their hardest to knock off real life brands, with a very small minority of people doing anything creative. Most people I met had never even thought about building anything much less anything creative, and only wanted to live in the most real life as possible malibu dream pre-fab house they could get, with their real life skins, and real life clothes, and real life car.
Atleast now with corporations they're doing things WELL, not just cheap knock offs of real life stuff and they're bringing money, attention, and great paying jobs to reward the builders who worked so hard refining their talent here for almost nothing. So I say who cares if they want to declare themselves the first yadda yadda yadda, in all likeliness no one even remembers what the first clothing store was, or the first PR firm, etc anyways. Might as well milk it while it lasts.