Surprises in Publishing

There are great surprises to me as an author, now that I can track what people read. Although Sim Street Journal is released as two versions—one in-world and one online, the audience is also split 50/50 between them. Both offer readership statistics on what is most-read.

eleanor-best-of-ssj-release

The first surprise is that SSJ is read in 72 countries! Clusters of readers will emerge from Egypt or Argentina, depending on the sharing patterns. The maps are very illuminating, and where readers will sprout is unpredicatable.  Yet, the readership location percentages overall seem to mirror the SL population: 40% North American, 40% European, 10% Australian, 5% South American, 5% Asian, approximately.

Even more surprising is what you, in the audience, read. As much as I think I know the target reader, I did not predict the results!

The editorial content of the publication is a mix of contributors and my editorial overview commentaries. I expected the profiles—the individual achiever’s story— to be most read. The articles that I write, comparing and contrasting viewpoints, I expected to be less-read. But the opposite is true by a multiple! The profiles have readership at first, but then it falls to smaller occasional spurts. But the overview articles have a consistent higher readership level! This is a great compliment! They are my original works, where the job of the rest is editorial.

I have taken this to heart. From the first issue of SSJ, I had a master list of ten topics to investigate with contributors. Unlike a magazine with a variety of writers, this content is designed to have more consistency, but still allow the personalities of collaborators. The topics coral around specific concerns and inspirations. Now, with having almost 200 interviews in hand, there is much to compare/contrast! The consistent vision is evident because the skeleton of the ten topics holds. It is very cool that these creations with the comparing viewpoints are the most read!! So, naturally, in response, I took the approach another step:

Relevance: From the Inside OutRelevance: From the Inside Out is written more for the outside reader than the in-world one because relevance means affect on real life. Having a second life has changed the first life of millions by now. Each night, there are between 48,000 and 68,000 avatars logged in. Sim Street Journal has 2,000 of them per issue as readers, which means it reaches its target. I believe in the 80/20 rule, and of the 20%, only 5% is of quality. SSJ seeks, finds, and reaches, those concerned with the quality and meaning of this expanded sense of time and space. It is a larger project to compare them than the confines of one journal issue—it follows the model of a larger compilation, possibly following the book format instead.

Books and art require a LOT of marketing to sell. For any product, it takes seven exposures to a target before they purchase. In an online world, the visual competition is huge. Now that everyone is a “publisher,” concerned about making posts and sharing their lives in a show-and-tell fashion, to break through that, and ask a reader to consider more universal topics, is knocking them off of a mindset. This is not a product that keywords will find, unless the reader has heard of the title already. Few would type into Google: “I am looking for a book on how developing a second life can influence the first.” This notion only occurs to those who find the topic within their journeys.

I think Megan Prumier said it best in SSJ#8: “Handle the virtual world with care.”It means so many different things to different people. In summary, it enhances real life. But there are many for whom it impairs. To everyone, there are reminders that it is public, and all kinds of people are behind the keyboards. The protection of anonymity has its pros and its cons, there for each to discover.

always inspired, Eleanor Medier,
author, Relevance: From the Inside Out

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Medier-735735156500378/

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com

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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/38/30/1648

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

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Pale Illusion on Bold Perception

Pale Illusion confronts universal meaning in her recent 3D art. Adding to the Sim Street Journal#17 in-world review, Pale clarifies her direction.

Pale Illusion on Bold Perception by Eleanor Medier

Artists don’t always get out of a message what they put in. Usually those who use a narrative concept can control reader perceptions. But the symbolists can’t. The universal language of visual art comprises images with meaning to be understood by all, yet must be tested.

Once in real life, I designed a poster with a flying carpet to represent the middle east for an international hotel chain. The hotel in India declared that the flying carpet is India’s symbol! The garbage received 5,000 posters, as I came up with a new image (containing a camel). When working with ‘universal’ symbols, they have to, indeed, be universal.

Another difficulty arises in the virtual world for the narrative and symbolic artists: instructions. To use the medium most effectively means incorporating animation, sound, space, and progression. It means involving the viewer. The creator then wrestles with how to give instructions. Arrows on the floor always work well to direct a specific path. Signs can embellish, especially when incorporated into the work (such in as ChapTer Kronfeld’s progress of sins).

Mostly, written directions contained in a notecard is a bad idea. A visual work must work visually. If a piece requires the reading of a particular narrative passage, it should be present when viewing (such as in Sharni Azalee’s egg or Carmsie Melodie’s pollution).

Pale Illusion

Pale Illusion wrestles with the questions of universal symbols and instructions. She listens to the viewers. She discovers perceptions that both match and mis-match her intentions. “Paper Empire” seems like the Berlin wall to some perceivers! Her images require close inspection, such as the hats upon the lovers meeting over the fence, which indicate nationality. Pale may think many of her references are obvious! In the pieces where they are the MOST obvious, they are most pleasing—both to the creator and to the viewer.

With one exception. After publishing the review of “The Void,” I received a comment from Pale that I missed the major point: it is a womb. Additionally, she feels neglectful by not pointing out that “The Void” is really Part 2, following an earlier piece, “You Can’t Touch Heaven,” which can be seen on the University of Western Australia’s campus sim permanent display.She explains: “No one really seems to have found the womb, but it was the most important part of the piece. Maybe it makes sense to see the first artwork to get the whole picture.” They should be viewed together.

So I went revisited UWA to view “You Can’t Touch Heaven.” Again, I am struck by the sheer beautiful rendition of chaos versus order. The review I had written was on Contrast. This Part 1 piece is a simpler example. The landing location is marked EARTH. Hover type over the monolith says “TP TO HEAVEN.” Clicking there, I appear on a path/bridge that is in an expansive golden space, fading out into vagueness.

Pale Illusion

It seems Pale is saying that Heaven is a journey, much like life is a journey. But, we can’t really know it until there. She offers an ambiguous glimpse—is this a step to another level that can’t be depicted? In both pieces, the path dissolves. In “You Can’t Touch Heaven,” it crumples into a reflection, and in “The Void,” it fades into an undefined space, much like an episode of the 60s TV show, Twilight Zone.

Then, going back to the more challenging piece “The Void,” the relationship between the geometric landing point, and following the TP into the white room can occupy much contemplative time! The two sides of the room are divided by a bench—indicating two different experiences in the unknown.

Pale Illusion

Perhaps the fallen column with the green fire could represent misperceptions. Getting to an advanced form of consciousness, such as after death, whatever it is, will destroy what WE think it may be.  Pale expresses oblivion, the disillusionment of perception, and transforming into something else—abstract and difficult concepts so descriptively portrayed: “The chaotic window you see in the back— life as a micado game with all the possibilities, when death arrives, and it becomes a narrow path with only one direction and finally falls apart.”

However, at the end of the room is the expected bright soft light that so many with near-death experience report. So where is the womb? Not seeing, it, Pale didn’t lose patience with me. Rather, now she wonders if she needs an arrow there, because I am supposed to step INTO that “void!”

At this point, I do agree that the two sculptures are a great series, but again, I must disagree because I didn’t need to see the first one to appreciate the second. I can feel Pale’s penetrating stare as I write this, and she might wish to get in the ring with boxing gloves. I am happy to debate with her any time.

Pale Illusion

What does come through from our banter is that Pale fears being too obscure. She declared: “There is a lot of philosophical depth in my works—  maybe too much sometimes. I struggled for a long time if I should write a description each time, explaining it. But then I thought: No, people should discover it their way, everyone will find a own point of view.— Am I wrong in this belief?”

So it is time to take that (presumably) one-way trip into a death experience!

Pale Illusion The Void-step in

Standing at the entrance to the unknown beyond, I take a deep breath. Without Pale’s encouragement, I would not take a step. Even for an avatar, this looks like a daunting transition about to be inflicted upon the innocent. Yet, this doorway doesn’t look threatening. So I take the step.

Suddenly, I feel like I don’t know where I am going, lost in a white tunnel. A ghostly woman appears, beaconing. Then friends? These are spirits reaching out, and I must pass them to continue.

Pale Illusion The Void Ghosts

In this tunnel, the timid may miss how the path progresses—there uphill climbs and drop offs. It takes a little practice to get the rythmn of it—is life after death a challenge? (Camming out, I discover this path is a spiral.) The black and white smiling spirits of family and friends are welcomingly clear.

Yet, I must go on. Finally, a pink oval. Going around it, and entering a pink tunnel, now I get the womb reference Pale insists upon. The piece takes a more literal spin. Whereas the intriguing symbolism of the white room level conveyed the most about death, the journey back to the womb is about the death/life cycle (doesn’t it usually progress in the opposite order? First birth, then death?) Here is a balance, the ying/yang approach.

Pale Illusion The Void-womb

When reviewing just the death portion, I was satisfied with the piece as a whole. It left death vague, and now, it has a back-to-the-beginning theme. Is the birth level as satisfying? It has an enormous scale shift. I have gone from feeling normal sized, to feeling like Alice in Wonderland, having gone microscopic. Am I a witness to the beginning of life, or am I a part of it? As“The Void” may answer what happens after death, the life coming after that may also be another unknown dimension. There is always the question: What happens next?

Please see the review of “The Void” as part of the Sim Street Journal #17 review in-world, and additional reviews from the online edition.

always inspired, Eleanor Medier

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Medier-735735156500378/

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com

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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/38/30/1648

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

Following a Flow

Eleanor at The Dirty Grind

Something always happens in creativity that is unconscious. Perhaps this is what intrigues a creator the most. The artist can even surprise herself with what comes out! Often, years later, I will look at an image I created and suddenly I can see so much more in it that expresses where I was at time. But I could not see it then. Each artistic creation is a self-portrait.

The best ideas demand development. Every issue I design of SSJ has a character, and even an atmosphere. But with a periodical, there are subject breaks between the articles, and only a tangential thematic relationship that results between them.

With this issue, I began with photos I had saved from the Sina Souza show at The Dirty Grind. It is one of my favorite music venues in Second Life,® and most visually exciting. The sim always evolves, and has a schedule that works well with my virtual lifestyle. I didn’t know Lisa or Ian Witt prior to profiling Jordan Reyna, which was one of the first times I was at their then-new club. I am always drawn to their concerts, familiar with most of the musicians that enthusiastically join their family of artists.

Although Steampunk is not my chosen style, I love it visually. Lisa and Ian keep a strong and recognizable theme as they adapt to the artists. They are artists too. Those who support the arts in Second Life provide the opportunities for them, even if behind the spotlight.

Sim Street Journal supports live music performance, and committed to visual arts criticism. Just as in real life, the two communities of visual and musical arts don’t overlap much. SL is an opportunity to bring them together. SSJ is too.

This issue began with this fusion, but I didn’t plan that the articles should flow this way. The portrait of Dirty Grind had with Sina Souza show that flows right into my treatise on Symbolism that includes Talullah and Moondrift as two of the ten artists chosen. Then, Heavy Writer and I chose Talullah and Moondrift for our discussion in our column, The Aesthete & The Amateur.

So, the synergy between art and music that I find most gratifying in my virtual life is expressed here. It is a work of art comprised of works of art.

always inspired, Eleanor Medier

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Medier-735735156500378/

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com

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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/38/30/1648

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

Lost and Found

Single images are the most communicative form of expression. In two seconds, a visual can say more than a video or an article. In a society fascinated by gadgets and techniques, single, simple, images still stand out the most. So I hope to capture the feeling of threat and bravery.

Wandering through the virtual world one night, I got lost in the woods. All the trees started looking alike. They all seemed to reach their branches out to capture me. And there were zombies and dragons stalking me, just waiting to corner me along one of the endless dead-ends paths.

photo collage by Liane Sebastian

Detail from Haunted Escape by Eleanor Medier / Liane Sebastian

Fortunately my favorite horse, Ebony, was tracking me too. Suddenly she teleported to my location of anguish. It is so fortunate that I live in a world where horses can fly.

—Always inspired, Eleanor Medier / Liane Sebastian
Please see the full image for “Haunted Escape” on my illustration blog.

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Medier-735735156500378/

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com

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Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/38/30/1648

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

Coming soon: Sim Street Journal #15

Timing is limited for viewing the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) exhibits. But the inspirations linger on! I visited “Paradise of CyberPolis” by Asmita Duranjaya and Sable (snakeappletree), LEA 12, for my job as a cyber art critic. Surprised by its richness, I may have missed the point of its game concept, but I didn’t really miss it, considering the wealth of visual experiences! Please enjoy my review online, and look for the upcoming issue that will contain more brilliant insights by creative collaborators!

SSJ$15-pre-release

••••••••••••••••••••••••CONTACTS:

Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/38/30/1648

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eleanor-Medier/735735156500378?ref=bookmarks

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com

The Power of Poof

kiosk-power of poof

Getting spoiled quickly by technology that works, we expect it to. And when it doesn’t, all the shock and anger in the world won’t convince a digital system to behave. Every one of us, who works with these tools for any length of time, will tell stories of lost data, system crashes, and freak accidents caused by the slip of a finger.

Then we vow to be diligent with backups and paying closer attention. Yet, even with that, information can disappear from a box deep within code, a blip in electricity, a magnetic shift in the atmosphere, or satellite failure.

Let us always remember:

If anything can go wrong, it will.

And let us learn from this experience of domino events:

1. SSJ has a growing kiosk system, sprouting up like seeds around the grid. The server is at the office, which hasn’t moved in almost two years.

2. The rental system on this office sim goes down, and erases the kiosk server.

3. The sim that houses the router, far away from the server (and functions as a backup), does a restart. So the router goes offline, and there is a silent POOF as hundreds of kiosks vanish.

4. I log the next day, and discover the kiosks are gone. Galvanizing landlady and partner, we three jump into action and quickly discover what happened. But the solution is not so quick.

The good news is that I have a month-old printout of all the kiosk locations and click counts. And the good news is that I love to talk to the kiosks holders and always wish to contact them more. The other good news is we are between issues, with #14 half finished. (And, issues are still available at the office display (Innu 38, 30, 1648), on MARKETPLACE, as well as online.)

So, I will be sending IMs to those of you that host the kiosks, and include a new one. My plan is to be back to 75% capacity in one week.

I may miss a few of you that have placed kiosks more recently than my report.
Please contact me, and I can send you a new one.

THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING PART OF THIS SOLUTION!!!

Let us all learn that systems are fragile and cannot be trusted. Fortunately, Sim Street Journal is multi-media. Half the readers are in-world via the subscription  list (unaffected by this and more stable) and kiosk clicks. The other half of the readers are online, which is not affected by this current challenge.

It is also a great opportunity to talk to each of you—sharing the goal of presenting the fantastic talent and vision found in the virtual world. —always inspired, and challenged, Eleanor

••••••••••••••••••••••••CONTACTS:

Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/38/30/1648

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Eleanor-Medier-735735156500378/

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com

Profile Potential

Ele-office-profiles

After reading an article about an inspiring culturalist in Sim Street Journal, hopefully the next action is to learn more, and attend a performance or exhibit.
There are three places most readers next explore:
• visit blog, website, or YouTube
• Search for name or location
• check Profiles

When researching who to present in Sim Street Journal, I first check Profiles. Making a mistake a few times, we have a few contributors who are amazingly talented and accomplished, but have Profiles that are out-of-date or unfocused. In fact, finding really good Profiles is rarer than finding talent!

Profiles may be the most under-utilized of communication tools. Here is the opportunity to tell a story, provide LMs and links, and communicate a passion for activities. Rather, there is frequently old content, little or no information, poor focus, few links, and abundant blank spaces.

As a professional communicator, I cannot remain silent about this. It is shocking how many well-known avatars are guilty of poor presentation. In fact, the Profile is the first place to show appreciation and respect for followers!

Please do a Profile audit.
Here is a checklist to help rate effectiveness as a virtual artist or entrepreneur:

ELEMENTS OF A COMMUNICATIVE PROFILE:

I. SL opener is the best place to put:
• links: blog, Facebook, etc.
• LMs to shop, venue, or gallery
• Marketplace info
EXAMPLES:
FreeWee Ling is concise yet has personality.
Gerrard Winstanley is entertaining and direct.
KT Syakumi utilizes the space well.

II. Picks
Ask: When readers search, what do they wish to know? To whom is this information directed? Selections need to be prioritized:
1. LMs to significant locations, updated
2. Calendar, current with location names and times, or a link to where maintained
3. Promotional, such as articles or reviews
4. Favorite places of support or collaboration
5. Personal sharing—information about partners or family
Use all ten slots to demonstrate commitments.
EXAMPLES:
DavidDM Therian shows how to make good use of Picks (though has more room).
Greenie Lane can express her expansive business/creative focus.
Megan Prumier gives a lot of information in these buttons.

III. RL tab should not be left blank. It screams “I am an alt” and that is a bad impression. Declare a position on RL/SL strategy. If transparent, place real life links here and contact information. If SL and RL are separate, say that.
EXAMPLES:
Russell Eponym demonstrates a good integration between RL and SL.
Allie McCallen shows that barriers can be strategic, and express commitments.
Bob Corrigible entertains while expresses rich and active lifestyles.

My biggest plea to all performers and exhibitors is to maintain a Calendar. It is such a missed opportunity if audience members only find out about an event the same day. A good percentage of viewers are lost simply by not knowing about it in time to attend. Even if it changes later, at least fans know about it.

Please take a fresh look at the Profile as a tool. Out of the countless that I view, only about 10% are crafted. Look at tabs from the visitor’s point-of-view and question the ease of finding information. Every viewer will be grateful for that by becoming more attentive.

Footnote:

As Sim Street Journal grows out of its early days, we have to be strict about how contributors use their Profiles. The in-world magazine is a hub and provides contact tabs on every page. The relationship of the Profile to other communication tools is vital and not to be neglected. If reading an article, there needs to be follow up action inspired. Please do not be offended if we challenge on this point, and request that attention be given to this tool.

••••••••••••••••••••••••CONTACTS:

Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.

ONLINE: http://simstreetjournal.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/simstreetjournal

IN-WORLD: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Innu/42/36/1650

MARKETPLACE: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/148961

EMAIL: simstreetjournal@gmail.com

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Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)

BLOG: http://www.eleanormedier.wordpress.com

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eleanor-Medier/735735156500378?ref=bookmarks

ASN: http://www.avatarsocialnetwork.com

EMAIL: eleanormedier@gmail.com