To me the biggest problem SL has is PR related; it has a bad reputation.
Some of this is not SL’s or LL’s fault but something to do with lazy ‘journalists’.
And I am speaking with some experience as I get to deal with journalists in RL all the time.
Let’s look at a few examples.
Because SL has just turned 10 years old, it has received some extra media attention, I think that LL planned this very well and did a good job.
Any good reporter working on any kind of article would or should first visit a website related to the subject of the article.
In this case a good reporter would visit the Second Life website but also the Linden Lab website.
The SL website sadly has no Press section, this is maybe something LL should add there because they too know that journalists are sometimes too lazy or dim to visit the LL website as well.
With the media you should never assume that the person who picks you as their subject is one who is dedicated to their job and doesn’t mind doing a little extra work.
But once a good journalist does visit the LL website, they can easily find the press section and find the recent press releases.
And it was a very good idea to make that so called infographic and publish it there together with some snappy PR.
Journalists love this kind of stuff, it works.
And if they look a little further they can find a link to the LL flickr set with SL pictures they can use for their article.
These promotional images are not bad and also pretty recent, uploaded just a month ago.
Of course we can debate and disagree on the kind of images they have chosen and maybe we should because I can think of more interesting pictures, but at least the material is available!
This update on the Press section of LL (I don’t know if they offered images to be used by the press before last month) does seem to work.
Have a look at this article for instance; San Francisco interview with Rod Humble.
It uses one of the press package images and the journalists clearly read the press release and based his questions on it.
Some important websites also found (or were send) the press release and made good use of it.
Have a look at the Gamespot article for instance and this one on Massively.
They both pretty much copy the LL press release and use the infographic or other up to date decent screenshots.
In contrast, here is an article that came out just before LL uploaded some free to use screenshots.
It was written for PCgamesN, not a very big website, but in the world of PR, every bit of publicity counts.
You can visit the article here and you will see this horrendous illustration being used;
I’ve managed to track this picture down to 2007, but it could be even older.
Even though this article was made just a few days before LL put free to use pictures on the internet, it still shows some lazy ‘journalism’.
It may come as a shock but many reporters can’t be bothered to spend much more then a few seconds on google to do their ‘research’.
Anyway, regardless of your opinions about Second Life and Linden Lab, there is no excuse for sloppy work, so I felt I had to at least complain to that website via twitter about them using such an old screenshot.
Showing that with an article about Second Life in 2013 is unfair, wrong and it just not cricket.
But alas, it is not just a problem you can have with sloppy journalists from small websites.
The once holy BBC, broadcaster of all broadcasters, recently made this little video that does pretty much everything wrong it could do wrong and as such a big tv station, it causes lots of damage.
The title ‘Whatever happened to Second Life’, is already negative, it almost suggests that we should expect that it died years ago.
In the video we first see a backroom band that has a monthly gig in Second Life, not a bad start, but what does it have to do with the story and why does the footage of the band inworld seem to be rather old and simplistic?
40 seconds out of 2 minutes of precious airtime, we’re being told about this band, why they enjoy using it followed by more ancient footage.
Nice but what does that say about 10 years of SL?
One would almost think that the reporter used the 10th anniversary as an excuse to tell something about the band.
Then a bit of negative history about how SL had a hype that it didn’t live up to, true but not that important really because most big companies just didn’t get Second Life.
Yes this is an article in the business section so it is understandable that they look at the big companies that came and left.
But that is old news, they should have looked at LL as a company, had they bothered to visit the LL press section and found the press release they would have realised that that would be rather interesting a subject as well.
Even for people just interested in business, it is rather remarkable that LL has managed to keep SL going for over a decade, how much money it still makes, how it survived the leaving of all those big companies, how huge its virtual economy is, etc, etc.
So sometimes, it does not matter what you do as a company, there will always be reporters and journalists who are too inexperienced, lazy or dim to find their way to your press package.
They will use old screenshots and ignore your view of things.
There is very little you can do about it.
Luckily in todays world, we as users can step in now and then.
If you see a website that is writing about Second Life and being overly negative, unfair, unbalanced or even tells lies, share it with your friends and tell them to share their thoughts.
Go on, find the BBC on twitter or facebook, check out pcgamesn, trace down other websites, and tell them what they are doing wrong.
The media doesn’t have to love Second Life, they don’t have to blindly copy the story Linden Lab gives them, they can be critical or even hate it.
But they least they should do is pick up some up to date information and screenshots!