Imagine that you’re trawling through the ‘situations vacant’ columns of your local newspaper on the off-chance that there might be something interesting to which you could turn your, not inconsiderable, talents to and maybe make yourself a little spending money on the side. In amongst the ads for envelope stuffers, party plan reps and market research canvassers, you come across this little gem:
Wanted for immediate start: Are you a motivated and lucid individual, who is passionate about the things you love and enjoys sharing your experiences and passion with others?
Why not come and work for us? We are a hugely successful international company who are happy to throw thousands of dollars at the most dubious projects at the drop of a hat – so why not join our friendly team and shamelessly promote our product for the most fulfilling rewards.*
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Oh, i forgot the small print… best take a quick look!
*Small Print: There will be no financial or other tangible pay for your services, although we will, (grudgingly), permit you anything up to 3 sentences of self-promotion. For this consideration we expect you to comply with all 14 points of our conditions of service, their sub-clauses and sub-sub-clauses, and also wholeheartedly embrace our all-encompassing guidelines without any deviation whatsoever. Whatever work you do for us must be completely unique and it is absolutely forbidden to let anybody else have a copy of it or even use it yourself even before we have it in our grubby little mitts. Once we have your contribution, we reserve the right to change, alter, re-arrange, break, add to your original, create a political slant or subliminal message, use it to endorse any of our own products in any way we might wish and assume full control, ownership and possession of your work. You have no say in how, when or in what circumstances we use it – it belongs to us now and you can just stop your whining and accept the fact that we own you. Just to re-iterate, in case you haven’t got the message yet – you will be working for us, for no pay, and you have absolutely no say in what we do with the finished product. Simples.
Hmmm… perhaps i’m more cut out for envelope stuffing, after all!
Nobody in their right mind, (and i do realise i have to be careful saying things like that when i’m talking about sl residents!), is going to be duped into a scheme like that and surely there can’t be companies out there who seriously think that they stand a snowball in hell’s chance of recruiting anybody under those sort of terms – well, think again: Linden Lab have stepped up to the plate!
Yes folks, our lovable Labbers have once again managed to surpass themselves with a piece of public relations’ foot-in-mouth the like of which hasn’t been seen since Gerald Ratner proclaimed his own products to be ‘crap’. Believe it or not – well you will believe it when you read it – this is exactly the rather insulting and hair-brained idea that LL have managed to come up with, under the rather enticing misnomer of ‘Calling all bloggers!’ – it should of course be, ‘Calling all plonkers!’
In a nutshell, LL would like independent bloggers to write guest articles to shamelessly promote sl – the Lab would retain complete editorial control over the piece, which must be original and cannot have been published previously – not even in your own blog. Self promotion to be kept to a minimum and no marketing; although they would allow a link to your own blog and three whole sentences of bio, which would be tagged on at the end. And, for all your time, effort and hard work promoting their company’s product, they’ll pay the great big fat sum of absolutely nothing at all!
Surprisingly, this is not something that i’m particularly bothered about – there will be those out there, far more benign than me, with a much stronger sense of community spirit who will happily get involved with no thought of recompense. There will also be those who, blinkered by the chance of a bit of free promotion, will happily sell their souls to the Lab and, forgoing freedom of speech for self-hype, will happily jump on the blogging bandwagon. Then there are the plain daft who’ll think this is a good idea or are simply Linden sycophants. Each to his own, i say, do whatever you must – but it’s not for me.
However there is one aspect of this sorry charade that has really got my goat to the point where i’m spitting feathers, splitting infinitives and where my vocabulary has proved insufficient for the task, leaving me stood with funny noises coming out of my mouth as my brain and my tongue argue about how best to express my disbelief!
Why? Because i wanted to add a comment to ‘Calling all bloggers!’, just like seven other people before me had done, only to find that those blooming Lindens, no doubt now realising the utter folly of their misguided attempt to curry favour, have only gone and disabled commenting! The Fascists! Yes, the shiny axe of censorship has fallen and, in that one simple action, LL has demonstrated precisely the attitude that they intend to take with any piece submitted to them by a hapless blogger – step out of line and they’ll wreak editorial havoc without mercy!
More importantly – and please believe me when i say that i believe there’s an awful lot of good stuff too, behind the scenes at Linden Lab – doesn’t the whole tone of this particularly unreasonable job offer, coupled with the way in which the Lab has responded to those who dare to naysay it, demonstrate perfectly, exactly what is wrong with the way in which they present their public face?
i’ll finish here but, in the interests of public service – and since the Lindens won’t permit freedom of speech on their own blog – please feel free to put the comments you would have added to their post, in reply to this post… you can take it from me, i won’t be censoring you.
They believed in democracy, freedom of speech,
Yet dead on the flesh piles
I hear no breath, I hear no hope, no whisper of faith
Crass – Demoncrats