Monday, March 5, 2018

Social Media Engagement and Unprofessional Rage

A discussion recently went up on Facebook wherein a certain industry pro very insultingly slagged off a certain kind of gaming. This particular individual (who shall go nameless, as is the rule here) has demonstrated themselves over the past few years to be caustic, judgmental, arrogant and generally hateful to begin with, which led me to unfollow them, because I enjoy their game and was very much getting to the point where I was going to sell off all the stuff and not support them anymore.

Which brings me to the dual point of this post: first, don't generalize an entire genre in a negative light, especially if you yourself are creating a game that falls within that overarching umbrella. Second, if you're a game industry professional, leave the bullshit at the door. The first should be just common sense, though apparently it's not.

Leave the Bullshit at the Door

Look, I don't care if you're in acting, video games, board games, tabletop RPGs, card games, music, a D.J. or whatever: your job is to entertain people. It's not to spout off at the mouth about your political opinions, especially if you're passing judgment on anyone and everyone who disagrees with you. 

Nobody's saying you don't have a right to your opinions, but there's a time and place, and as an industry professional, your social media account shouldn't be a socio-political pulpit--at least, not the same one you use for your professional posts. Telling someone who has purchased and uses your product, "you don't understand my game," when they talk about playing it a certain way is, quite frankly, shitty. 

We live in this angry, rage-filled world where people are obsessed with their right to stand up behind the podium and announce how everyone else is an asshole, a tiny mind who isn't up to their level of intellect, and frankly, it's sickening. 

The poster in question has a history of doing this sort of things, and has gone so far as to tell actual fans of his work to f*** off; they don't need that kind of business, for disagreeing with something they said. They regularly slag off other designers and games, in a niche industry where (a) there's plenty of room for everyone, and (b) we can't afford that kind of in-fighting. They caustically spout off their angry political opinions--and slag off the entire nation--and they have a small group of hangers-on and yes-men, who stroke their ego and validate them every time they do so. 

If you can't see that making enemies online isn't helpful, I don't know what to tell you. 

Hurting Your Numbers

The game for which they write is moderately successful, though it's something of a niche within a niche, but I'm here to tell you, it's their partner who makes it thus--said partner is jovial, personable, and enthusiastic, posting engaging material germane to the game. Truth be told, if it weren't for this individual, I'd have walked a long time ago.

Again, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but here's the thing: keep your professional profile amicable and neutral. Don't get sucked into social media negativity, and don't spew off about politics, religion and social issues. Even if you're in line with the general trend of social media groupthink, there's thousands of people out there who are going to hate what you have to say, and their money is every bit as good as those who agree with you. 

Most of them aren't even going to bother arguing with you or taking you to task over your caustic and toxic approach to engagement--they'll just not buy your product. While ROI on social media is hard to measure, a single negative interaction on Facebook--just one--can lose you up to 30 customers.  And this is someone who is routinely negative, to the point of flooding feeds with their angry, hateful, judgmental, caustic spittle. 

If you don't want the business of someone on the other side of the aisle, well, I say you don't deserve to succeed. Someone who doesn't want the business of someone because they're a conservative, liberal, Christian, or whatever, you're no better than the baker who didn't want to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. You're just the other side of the coin.

I Do This for a Living

I guarantee there's someone else out there wondering who I am to spout off about what is and is right for a professional to do on their own social media account. Well, in addition to being a professional game designer myself, as my day job I do web content writing and social media marketing for hundreds of companies from small startups to car dealerships, health and nutrition websites, medical websites, entertainment companies and more. The company for which I work also does reputation management. I've seen the effects this kind of thing has on businesses. So yes, I've got the creds and expertise to back it up--over ten years of experience, in fact. 

What are your thoughts as gamers and fans? Should industry pros stand on the socio-political pulpit, or should they stick to what their games have to offer? Comment below. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I got to say I have a feeling who you are talking about, not that it is important, more to the point of the article, or my feelings. I blogged back in the heyday of the OSR days, and really loved the community, the ideas being shared and just the fact that I felt a part of something special. But as the years ticked by and lines where soon drawn between blogger personalities, things just got more and more toxic. I guess the thing that kicked this off was Gorgnardia's collapse. Now I am not saying I was an Saint among sinners, I let fly stupid comments and such, but as I realized it seemed a handful of individuals where eating there own, I just got discouraged. Now the lines are firmly in place, the OSR Cults are defined by who they follow, and I just sit back and try to pick through the articles trying to avoid the drama still bubbling over almost on a weekly basis. It's like we can't all just sit back and love the hobby we love and get past the stupid little divisions of real life that divided us. Anyway, just a few of my thoughts.

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