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Got your attention, have I?

Okay, so not all of you are a major let-down. Some of you, I’ll grant, are not. Mistakes do happen – we all make them. Nobody’s at their best when they have to write an article about something that they know nothing about, surely.

But for pity’s sake, make an effort! The fact is that if what you know about virtual worlds is based on what you read in the media, you probably know less than nothing about them.

I fail to see how a journo who is called on to write about virtual worlds and knows nothing of the topic should feel that reading a bunch of claptrap written by other people who know nothing about the topic should consider that effective research.

Over the last few years, I’ve read almost every mainstream media article on virtual worlds that I’ve been able to get my hands on.

To describe them as error-ridden would be no exaggeration. Maybe three quarters of them can’t get Linden Lab’s name right. Some can’t get Philip Rosedale’s or Mark Kingdon’s names right either. Tales of terrorism that never happened, no idea about how the economy functions, no idea about even sex, the perennial favourite first thing to look for among most journos.

Some erroneously describe Second Life as a Web-site. Some make mention of Linden Lab as a publicly listed company.

The failures go on and on and on.

In many articles you’re struggling to find any factually correct sentences at all, other than perhaps the author admitting that he doesn’t really have any experience herself.

Now, I’m no journo – I’m just a writer – but I really do expect more of the well-monied media than just regurgitating each-other’s errors around the campfire, disconnected from any reality (virtual or otherwise). Colour me a naive idealist, but I really do expect more than that.

If it wasn’t for a very few shining stars like Mitch Wagner, there’d be virtually no correct mainstream coverage at all. The rest seems to be little more than a vast echo-chamber of errors, that misleads, misinforms and ultimately becomes the input for the next round of shoddy coverage.

For shame!

Whether you owe it to your readers, your advertisers or your conscience, I don’t much care which, but in what I understand to be the modern vernacular, “man up” and do some actual research. Or is that tradition dead, along with fact-checkers?

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