The suggestions, the assignments, the writing, the postings – all done. Mission accomplished.
From a simple idea grew a truly amazing online event, The SL Blogger’s Mix’n Match. The event was quite popular, and both Vint and I were totally surprised at the number of entries (60) that were submitted given the short notice and newness of the event.
There were some fears from the beginning. What if no one entered? How would people react if they were assigned an awful or embarrassing topic? Would bloggers really do it, and on time? Who would get sued?
Our fears proved massively unfounded.
I sensed things might go well when the topics began to arrive. The topics were current, amusing, meaningful and some quite profound. On scramble day we greatly feared a train wreck as topics, blogs and people might have been horribly mismatched. But it wasn’t so. I frequently found I really did want to hear what X had to say about Y.
I wondered why the mix was so interesting, and came to this conclusion: if you take a list of excellent topics and mix them with a list of amazing bloggers, the results will be good, every time. And they were.
The assignments were set and sent. Fortunately, there were very few issues to resolve and everyone got writing.
And did they! As I read post after post, I became increasingly astonished at the creativity, meaning and sheer effort put in by the writers. I noticed several patterns:
- As the event began, several bloggers expressed great concern or even fear of writing on an unknown topic. Without exception, they took up the challenge and wrote not only good pieces, but wrote truly outstanding articles. Were these actually the same people writing? They overcame their fears and broke through their personal barriers into a new level of confidence. They will be better bloggers because of it.
- Many articles were quite profound, as each author deeply considered their assigned topic and developed a unique view on the situation. They were thinking about SL in ways they’d never done before.
- Other bloggers strode confidently into unknown waters, writing on topics they had no knowledge of. But they investigated, researched, surveyed and interviewed to gather information with which they built amazing posts. They went well beyond their normal levels.
- A very small handful of participants seem to have forgotten or otherwise were unable to fulfill their commitment. I am not concerned at all about this, as everyone knows RL takes priority and things don’t always get done. I’m sure they will return in future events.
- Many people commented that “I had never read that blog before – it’s good”, or “She’s an amazing writer”, or “I’m friends with him now!” Many new connections were made, and I am certain some of them will last a long time.
- Within SL, on Plurk and via Twitter I observed many people discussing their posts or waiting in anticipation for the publication date to read about topics they found intriguing. There truly was a buzz developing across the SL Blogosphere. And that buzz, I believe, helped glue the online SL community together a bit more than it was before.
Many thanks to Hamlet Au, whose just-in-time article on New World Notes sent many readers towards the event. In fact, there were more than just a few people asking if they could enter event the next time it’s held after Hamlet's article was posted.
The buzz was such that not only did two Lindens, Katt and Torley, enter the event, but the event itself was announced on the Second Life viewer login screen (seen above), which I believe to be unprecedented for a SL blogging event. I offer my most humble thanks to those at Linden Lab who helped promote our community event.
How do I feel about all this? I’m sitting here quietly with a hint of a smile, feeling very satisfied that Vint and I managed to make our community a teeny bit stronger and our bloggers even more capable than they were before. I thank everyone who participated for a job most masterfully completed. See you next year!