Friday, May 2, 2014

I hate social media

So, for those few who follow my blog: Sorry for not posting so long. I've been through a lot of things, but I can say the result is worth it: I am now making games. Not as much as I would want to, because I need to put bread on the table with my day job, but I am effectively working on games 1 day of the week. If this goes well, I might be able to transition from making games as a hobby to making it my day job. Yay!
I don't know all of these logos, I am getting old.

But before I get to that point, I need to know EVERYTHING about making games. That includes not only programming, art and music, but also marketing and financials. While I am quite apt with the first and quite fair with 2 and 3, I have still a lot to learn on the last two. I have the financials quite straight now, because my games are free and I get food with my day job, but to make my games popular I really need to get my marketing straight. Thankfully social media should make this job easier than a decade before... should...

This is where the titular opinion of this post starts. I hate social media; Not because it is hip to hate Facebook, but because I never got the hang of being likable on the internet. In real life, I make friends without even trying and I have no problem speaking for large groups. To the contrary, I live for meeting new people and I love to improvise a class lecture in front of a random crowd, but online? Online I am worse than the shyest kid you've ever met. You probably never met me online.

It's not like I haven't tried. I have accounts on multiple sites, including reddit. I have tried getting some attention making this video clip and when it felt right, I even tried making a whole internet series a couple of years later. While it was fun to make the videos and I feel informed reading opinions from everyday people, it is not as fulfilling as actually meeting people and talking about your opinions/videos.

Here's the thing: to me, being online is not the same as actually being in someone's vicinity, being actually able to, but not needing to, touch someone's personal bubble. First of all, the reactions are not spontaneous online. Most interaction is done through text. I might not be dyslectic, but I am a very slow reader. I hate reading and the only reason I do it, is because I need to get the information or the cool story that is hidden within the text. I like writing, but it takes me a lot of effort to get the meaning right, while face to face I am able to make my point almost instantly clear using not only words, but also intonation and gestures.

Apart from that primary gripe, when I actually do get to the online interaction, NOBODY LISTENS! I might have had a couple of reactions, but if you are not on the first page of a forum post or the front page of someone's youtube, all you get is crickets chirping. If you want a reaction, you have to stalk your sites, waiting for a moment that someone makes a post, pounce when they do and hope the post goes big. Rinse, lather, repeat. Stalking takes time, a lot of time which I'd rather spend on making games.
Quick, altogether now! AAAAAAH!

So it's a kind of choosing between 2 evils. If I spend a lot of time online stalking, I am not able to make some games. If I spend my time making a game, I do not have the time to make a lot of posts to get feedback with. Without that feedback, I don't know what I made was approved or disliked. Though sites try to fix this with upvotes and likes, when I get a score, I don't know if I am liked by the people that matter to me. To me, there is no interaction online, only screaming into the void.

Social media should make marketing more easy. You can post anywhere, then it should go viral and you will be rolling in the dough. The internet is plastered with success stories that couldn't have happened 20 years ago. A couple of examples are Gangnam style, nyan cat, goat simulator and every month there will be one more to add to that list. I like those stories, but for every viral video there is "100 hours of video [sic] uploaded to YouTube every minute" that do not get that VIP treatment.

This is where the whole package starts to look futile. The whole internet is telling me to advertise my games in between a lot of content that is equally screaming for attention. Furthermore, you can not post on one place and then be done with it, you have to go to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, 4Chan and many more and then still not everyone has heard about my game. Nobody cares, nobody tells anyone and your marketing is dead. If I would, say, wear a clown's nose and spread flyers all over town while drawing everyone's attention, something I'd love to do, by the way, I might not market to a big area, but people will remember me and tell other people about my game ("Look at this flyer, Margaret. I got it from a guy wearing a clown nose! He made a game!").

But, I have to catch up with the times. People nowadays want a lot of information, all the time. The least I can do is updating any interesting events, or at least the ones I want people to know about. I can do the clown-thingy anyway and maybe someone will tape it and it becomes a viral video. I am going to set stuff up on as much social media as I am comfortable with and market and repost as much as possible. I am now reviving this blog for such purposes. Maybe if I keep my posts short and maybe more frequent that once a year, people might even take a look at it.

But I won't go on Facebook. It is too intrusive and it saves me a place to post updates to. Also, it is hip to hate Facebook.