Pssst… Newbie Blogger Initiative

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2012 logo. Typography over image of dragon, monitor, and mouse

FREE FORUMS.ORG, 24 May — May is Newbie Blogger Initiaitve month and a whole collection of new and veteran MMO bloggers have been sharing tips, feedback, and inspiration in the NBI Forums. Newbies in virtual worlds, or blogs, are exciting because they can bring new ideas and fresh perspectives, but they’re also “at risk” for not finding a little perch to stick to and disappearing shortly after arrival. So the NBI peeps really rock for trying to help newcomers become part of a community!

If you’re reading this, you very likely came from the NBI, but just in case you need the link to all the MMO-NBI goodness, here it is:
Newbie Blogger Initiative

BTW, if you want to tweet about NBI, the Twitter hash tag is:

I’ve written a few posts that might be relevant, so perhaps I’ll start by mentioning them, Building Communities with Strangers isn’t really about how to blog, but it’s just a short appreciation of why I think this is such a wonderful and special space that we’re able to inhabit today:
Building Communities with Strangers

And, Hey Stranger! iRez is always interested in new contributors! So if you poke around the blog and like what you see, you might like to contribute a guest post – give us a shout if you’re interested! The writers now are pretty much from Second Life since that’s where I “grew up,” but it’d be great to have contributions from other MMO’s too! :)

image of the more tag

One of the choices you make with a blog is “Full Posts” vs “Excerpts.” You’ll see lots of both and peeps are passionate on both sides. A “Full Post” is just that, your home page has one long, or short, post, on top of another and you scroll through them. Or use tags, searches, etc, to find content.

With “Excerpts” you only place a small bit of a whole post on your home page, so the “home page” really becomes a Home Page, kind of like a Magazine Cover or a magazine Table Of Contents. I’m definitely an excerpt person. I might not have a chance to read your whole magazine, but I’d love to get a glance at what’s inside and head for my most interesting article first.

If you look at the top blogs, from The Huffington Post on down, they’re all Excerpt formatted Home Pages. For me excerpt home pages make the site look much more urgent and compelling. And how do you make an Excerpt? Some Themes actually do it for you, but either way, THE MORE TAG is your ticket!
The More Tag

sheep at a trough

Nick Pickles /

The next two are, hmm… “Interesting!” :)
I actually do love tumblr, and after all, a museum curator is pretty much a reblogger, still, I worry that ultra-reblogging can make your content pretty thin and less personal. And as for my WordPress love poem, haha, gawd, I guess I was just having a really good day or something! 😛
Feeding at the Tumblr Trough
How Much Does WordPress Rock?

Previz image for VB30 Born Again
Our virtual performance art company “VB/CO” recently performed a work “Born Again” where we found Second Life Newbie’s and welcomed them into the world. Even for us that was a wacky day! 😛 Speaking of Second Life, that’s where I’m from. I’ve seen a lot of SL blogs and also a lot of WoW blogs, since I’m not much of a gamer, I haven’t really seen blogs on other platforms, but I assume there must be plenty out there. Actually it’s funny, when Blue Mars “died,” there was a lot more discussion of it on SL blogs / tweets than on Blue Mars blogs/tweets! So I guess even though SL is smaller than WoW, there’s a sort of critical mass effect. Anyway, here’s a bunch of pix on our “performance:”

VBCO Company logo graphic for 2012
Finally, here’s our “info” for NBI:
Name: Aero Bowman, Agnes Sharple, Botgirl Questi, Vaneeesa Blaylock & Xue Faith
Blog Name: I Rez, Therefore I Am

and a couple of shout outs, I found out about NBI from Blog de la Burro, and I found about B de la B from Daniel Voyager’s blog:
Blog de la Burro
Daniel Voyager’s Blog

When I started 3 years ago I almost made a wiki instead. I wanted to post documentation of performance artworks from virtual worlds, and I thought a wiki or a blog might each work pretty well. I flipped a coin, and became a blogger.


Image of iRez dot me URL logo over photograph of Vaneeesa Blaylock & Trilby Minotaur floating in the water in London

I   R E Z   T H E R E F O R E   I   A M   –   B L O G   H I S T O R Y

2009 Apr 18 – VB01 – Girl Next Door
2009 Apr 22 – I Rez Therefore I Am launched on Blogger
2010 Apr-Jun-ish – posting on Avatars United
2010 Jun 30 – I Rez Therefore I Am on
                            Theme: DePo Masthead by Automattic
2011 Jul 06 – Theme: Delicious Magazine by Woo Themes
2012 May 10 – Domain:

I loved our Blogger blog back in April 09, but it feels like we’ve come so far since then, both in content and in platform and design.

Thanks to all the NBI Advice-Giverers and all the Advice-Receiverers! I think MMO Worlds are such amazing places and I’m glad everyone’s banded together to try to build community – that’s as good as it gets! :)

— Vaneeesa

Vaneeesa Blaylock in the Michael Jordan "Flight" pose

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5 Responses to “Pssst… Newbie Blogger Initiative”

  1. theerivs
    2012/05/24 at 19:19 #

    Hi I’m River. Interested blog, I can’t wait to sink my teeth in it, and bleed it for all it’s worth.

  2. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/05/24 at 19:23 #

    hahaha River! So… you have sharp teeth?

  3. theerivs
    2012/05/24 at 19:37 #

    and a tongue to match. I asked a question on the NBI blog, I’ll ask it here as well. You mentioned this blog was about an identity and the virtual world, and me being the curious sort. How can you have issue with identity in a virtual world, when you can be virtually anything?

  4. Vaneeesa Blaylock
    2012/05/24 at 19:59 #

    haha, good question! Yes, in a virtual world you can be (almost) anything… and many would also say that in the physical world you can, in your own mind, be a pretty wide range of things too…

    I guess what I’d say of our “mission” here, is that it’s not so much, “oh, my skin is pink, why can’t it be green” well of course, it’s easy to make it green… but what does that mean… what is the lived experience of green?

    In the physical world there’s a lot of chauvinism about identity: your ethnicity, your gender, your sexual orientation, your weight, your religion, your able-ness, your politics…

    Does being in a virtual space suddenly erase all that? Or how does that play out. Or do those old prejudices get replaced by new ones? I’ve heard stories of furries being mistreated in virtual space.

    I think the RL ideas about identity and the Virtual ideas turn out to be pretty similar. And speaking of RL vs Virtual… there’s also the idea of Immersion vs Augmentation…

    Augmentationalists see virtual identity as an extension of RL identity… like… I’m a university professor and I want my RL career to “get credit” for my virtual work… or I’m interested in actually dating people, so the avatar mask is okay temporarily, but I might eventually want to meet you IRL… or many other scenarios…

    Immersionists on the other hand are more “don’t ask don’t tell”… this could be because they’re dissident bloggers living in a totalitarian state, or abuse survivors not wanting to be found by their ex. Or they could be Role Players who just want to fully immerse in that experience and not talk about today’s marketing meeting while you’re storming the castle.

    The Avatar also gets wrapped up in online identity issues, like the right to be anonymous or pseudonymous online, or to not have to be orthonymous. If you’re familiar with the “nymwars” that Google+ sparked last summer, this is all about that. Like Facebook, and unlike MySpace, Google+ requires your online identity to be outed, to be “wallet identity,” presumably because they can monetize your life better that way, but it also means those dissident bloggers, abuse survivors, and RP experimenters have no safety under that draconian mandate.

    Some say that you don’t have to use a service if you don’t like their terms. But for me, Facebook and Google+ ARE the new Public Square. You can shout all you want in a physical park, but not many will ever hear you. If you want to actually access your civil right of free speech and your human right to participate in culture, then you need access to Public Space, and today public space is Facebook and Google+. So for me, by virtue of their dominance in cultural life, they should have a greater requirement than to simply profit from our lives.

    Anyway, those are a few of the ideas I think are involved in MMO’s and Avatars and Identity.

    Oh, and in case I didn’t say it explicitly say it, WoW, Ultima Online, etc, are not the only MMORPG’s… Facebook is totally an MMORPG.


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