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Is social networking/PR for everyone?

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I was actually going to ask you, "How important is social media in indie marketing?" or "Do I really and truly need to register on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Etc. to be a successful game developer?"--but both are rhetorical questions. Of course it's important for indies to network and connect with fans/other devs. Of course Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn can only aid in that process. But.

 

GameDev.net is the absolute closest that I've ever come to "social networking". I was speaking to someone a while ago about social media and the importance of building relationships with others. The person with whom I was speaking asked why I'm not on social media. I didn't have an answer--because there's literally no reason why I shouldn't be, given my chosen career path and hopes of doing this for a living [at some point].

 

My complications are derived from the fact that I'm not a very "social" person. No, I should rephrase this...I'm not an "extrovert". I thoroughly enjoy interacting with others, but doing so comes at the cost of intense anxiety for me (most apparent during presentations). The fact of the matter is that no one will ever see, notice, want, or care about my games if I don't find a happy medium soon. Thousands upon thousands of games are being released on a regular basis. I don't know how to approach this at all.

 

So, I turned to the internet. This is going to sound ridiculous, but I've spent a lot of time reading various forums/articles and watching various videos in an effort to understand the following terms: "hashtag", "retweet", "like", "share", and "favorite". In the end, I decided to create a YouTube channel, and I'm currently considering the thought of making a Twitter account. I've spent many hours designing [and redesigning] my logo, watching tutorials, and doing yet more research.

 

I wonder if social networking/PR is something that can be learned, not unlike other aspects of game development. Or maybe I'm just overestimating the matter.

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"Do I really and truly need to register on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Etc. to be a successful game developer?"


LinkedIn is for jobs/recruitment. It's useless for building an audience for your games. (I think it's near-useless in general, but that's a whole different story.)

 

My complications are derived from the fact that I'm not a very "social" person. No, I should rephrase this...I'm not an "extrovert".


This is not a useful way to think about social networking. Despite the presence of the word "social," it can very much be business or technical networking if that is your preference. There is no need to share more about yourself than you are inclined to, and if your objective is to promote your games, make the account in the name of your studio. Your studio has no "self" per se to post about—no breakfast to tweetshot, no significant other to publicly break-up with, etc.

But, also, social networking isn't all the hyperbolic extremes that you may see satirized in conventional media. I'd wager that social networking at large falls into three distinct categories: narcissistic self-promotion; interest-based engagement (authors/brands/companies/producers/creators with fans/enthusiasts/peers/readers/followers); and news. Creating social networking accounts to share news of your progress and engage with enthusiasts about your work doesn't require any more extroversion than your posts here on GameDev.

 

…maybe I'm just overestimating the matter.

 

I think so. Relax; you'll be fine! biggrin.png

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My opinion is that you can learn "social networking" and in these days as an indie you'll need some form of it (you don't need them all :)) starting your youtube channel is a good start, maybe also create a facebook account dedicated to your games/ progress. Then focus on just these 2, instead of going every road without focus

Edit: you could also try to team up with someone close how is more experienced in social networking

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I'm... Honestly not sure of how I feel about using social networking for myself as an indie developer. Monthly/weekly blogs and--presuming a large enough community--a forum are two types that I don't think that I'd mind. I have an active Google account, so I could perhaps set up a Youtube channel (although I'm not sure that I'd have enough videos to make it worthwhile). As for Twitter, I'm not sure of what I'd use it for that wouldn't work better in a blog post, with both time and space enough to better express myself. Facebook I'd rather just avoid for the most part, I think.

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I'm... Honestly not sure of how I feel about using social networking for myself as an indie developer. Monthly/weekly blogs and--presuming a large enough community--a forum are two types that I don't think that I'd mind. I have an active Google account, so I could perhaps set up a Youtube channel (although I'm not sure that I'd have enough videos to make it worthwhile). As for Twitter, I'm not sure of what I'd use it for that wouldn't work better in a blog post, with both time and space enough to better express myself. Facebook I'd rather just avoid for the most part, I think.

 

As you point out, a forum is really only practical when you have a large community. Otherwise you end up with a bunch of boards with 11 threads and 2 replies. Social networking is about meeting people where they are, and the very best social networking (IMO) leverages asymmetrical follow graphs. Facebook requires that all users have symmetrical peer "Friend" relationships, and that all brands establish "pages" that users can "like." It's a very constricting model, but if that's where your audience is, that's where you'll want to be.

 

Twitter is more interesting to me, in that a person who doesn't follow you can still interact with you quite robustly, and that you don't have to follow those who follow you—following is subscription, and is wholly independent of publication. One huge advantage is that it's easier to cross-pollinate communities without forcing them into stable peerage, so you can tweet with your professional colleagues at different studios on landmark occasions for them, but keep your feed primarily focused on your own content. In general, people who follow you will appreciate those occasional asides without being inundated by them, effectively growing the ecosystem. This is helpful because, hopefully, your colleagues are doing the same for you.

 

But, again, it's all about finding out where your audience is having conversations and joining them there.

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My complications are derived from the fact that I'm not a very "social" person. No, I should rephrase this...I'm not an "extrovert".


This is not a useful way to think about social networking. Despite the presence of the word "social," it can very much be business or technical networking if that is your preference. There is no need to share more about yourself than you are inclined to, and if your objective is to promote your games, make the account in the name of your studio. Your studio has no "self" per se to post about—no breakfast to tweetshot, no significant other to publicly break-up with, etc.

But, also, social networking isn't all the hyperbolic extremes that you may see satirized in conventional media. I'd wager that social networking at large falls into three distinct categories: narcissistic self-promotion; interest-based engagement (authors/brands/companies/producers/creators with fans/enthusiasts/peers/readers/followers); and news. Creating social networking accounts to share news of your progress and engage with enthusiasts about your work doesn't require any more extroversion than your posts here on GameDev.

 

 

I see. In that case, I shouldn't have too much trouble getting started. My intentions align with the second category that you described (internet-based engagement).

 

I have a question regarding content and the process of building an audience. Among the many marketing resources that I've come across, I noticed a few recurring themes (related to Twitter posts and updates). In short, many stated that you have to post at least 5 or more times a day to engage your followers or they will stop following you. It was also mentioned that updates should include either inspirational quotes, game updates, links to game reviews with short commentary, links to tutorial blogs, or finally a link to your own content. I don't know. I can certainly make time for such things if necessary, but is it really? How will I build an audience otherwise?

 

 

 

…maybe I'm just overestimating the matter.

 

I think so. Relax; you'll be fine! biggrin.png

 

 

Thanks. smile.png

 

 

My opinion is that you can learn "social networking" and in these days as an indie you'll need some form of it (you don't need them all smile.png) starting your youtube channel is a good start, maybe also create a facebook account dedicated to your games/ progress. Then focus on just these 2, instead of going every road without focus

Edit: you could also try to team up with someone close how is more experienced in social networking

 

Ok. I will focus on only two of the aforementioned platforms: YouTube, and either Facebook or Twitter.

 

Unfortunately, I don't really know anyone who is both experienced in social networking and interested in game development.

 

 

I'm... Honestly not sure of how I feel about using social networking for myself as an indie developer. Monthly/weekly blogs and--presuming a large enough community--a forum are two types that I don't think that I'd mind. I have an active Google account, so I could perhaps set up a Youtube channel (although I'm not sure that I'd have enough videos to make it worthwhile). As for Twitter, I'm not sure of what I'd use it for that wouldn't work better in a blog post, with both time and space enough to better express myself. Facebook I'd rather just avoid for the most part, I think.

 

I've considered starting a blog, but I'm not certain that I would have enough regular content to write posts of reasonable length. The number of configurable security features available in Facebook is a little intimidating, in my opinion.

 

 

 

... Facebook requires that all users have symmetrical peer "Friend" relationships, and that all brands establish "pages" that users can "like." It's a very constricting model, but if that's where your audience is, that's where you'll want to be.

 

Twitter is more interesting to me, in that a person who doesn't follow you can still interact with you quite robustly, and that you don't have to follow those who follow you—following is subscription, and is wholly independent of publication. One huge advantage is that it's easier to cross-pollinate communities without forcing them into stable peerage, so you can tweet with your professional colleagues at different studios on landmark occasions for them, but keep your feed primarily focused on your own content. In general, people who follow you will appreciate those occasional asides without being inundated by them, effectively growing the ecosystem. This is helpful because, hopefully, your colleagues are doing the same for you.

 

The juxtaposition of both platforms here is quite helpful. Thanks!

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I wonder if social networking/PR is something that can be learned

Absolutely!  I had no real idea about this sort of stuff when I took over the GameDev.net Facebook page, but after a few months of experimentally posting and paying attention to what worked well and what didn't I got the hang of what our audience seemed to respond positively to, and the page is now fairly active and very popular with over three times the number of fans as I started with a more following us every day.

 

Both Facebook and Twitter provide analytics with quite a bit of detail, so you have solid data to learn from: if a certain type or style of posting drives away fans you'll see it right there in the analytics, and likewise for things that work well.

 

You can also read up as you have already been doing to benefit from the experience of others and gain some general tips to get you started.

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I've considered starting a blog, but I'm not certain that I would have enough regular content to write posts of reasonable length. The number of configurable security features available in Facebook is a little intimidating, in my opinion.

I'm far from an expert on social media, so take my thoughts below with a grain of salt. That said, from what I've seen of other blogs, I don't think that the contents of a post need always be something groundbreaking. Offhand, the following occur to me:

  • General status updates, especially of notable features or changes
    • "We just implemented jumping! It involved solving this problem and that, and enables us to include secret areas that require "leaps of faith". Take a look at this embedded video of the feature in action!"--But less tersely-put, of course.
    • One approach to this might be to think back over the period since the previous entry, and attempt to summarise the progress of the project during that time.
  • Problems that you've encountered, or interesting choices that you've made or are making (the latter might be an opportunity to get feedback from your community)
  • Concept art, cool new models, or teaser video releases
  • Setting lore (for an interesting example, see this interview with one of the monsters in Underworld Ascendant)
  • As suggested by Oluseyi's post regarding Twitter, tangential matters, especially related to other, similar projects

(There are probably quite a few potential topics that aren't occurring to me at the moment.)

 

Come to that, the upcoming Week of Awesome competition might be a good opportunity to practice: Try to produce one blog post per day for your project. If you manage that, imagine doing similar for a larger project, but with posts spaced about a week or so apart instead of every day.

 


As you point out, a forum is really only practical when you have a large community.

Indeed; I included forums pretty much for the sake of completeness, I think.

 


Twitter is more interesting to me, in that a person who doesn't follow you can still interact with you quite robustly, and that you don't have to follow those who follow you—following is subscription, and is wholly independent of publication. One huge advantage is that it's easier to cross-pollinate communities without forcing them into stable peerage, so you can tweet with your professional colleagues at different studios on landmark occasions for them, but keep your feed primarily focused on your own content. In general, people who follow you will appreciate those occasional asides without being inundated by them, effectively growing the ecosystem. This is helpful because, hopefully, your colleagues are doing the same for you.



But, again, it's all about finding out where your audience is having conversations and joining them there.

... This is rather dispiriting and worrying to read. :/

 

Anyway, I feel that I'm somewhat hijacking Onigiri's thread with this line of discussion, especially since my own worries are things that Onigiri seems to have figured out. I might revisit this in a thread of my own when my project reaches the point at which there's much to start building interest around (presuming that it does reach that point, of course).

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I've considered starting a blog, but I'm not certain that I would have enough regular content to write posts of reasonable length. The number of configurable security features available in Facebook is a little intimidating, in my opinion.

I'm far from an expert on social media, so take my thoughts below with a grain of salt. That said, from what I've seen of other blogs, I don't think that the contents of a post need always be something groundbreaking. Offhand, the following occur to me:

  • General status updates, especially of notable features or changes
    • "We just implemented jumping! It involved solving this problem and that, and enables us to include secret areas that require "leaps of faith". Take a look at this embedded video of the feature in action!"--But less tersely-put, of course.
    • One approach to this might be to think back over the period since the previous entry, and attempt to summarise the progress of the project during that time.
  • Problems that you've encountered, or interesting choices that you've made or are making (the latter might be an opportunity to get feedback from your community)
  • Concept art, cool new models, or teaser video releases
  • Setting lore (for an interesting example, see this interview with one of the monsters in Underworld Ascendant)
  • As suggested by Oluseyi's post regarding Twitter, tangential matters, especially related to other, similar projects

(There are probably quite a few potential topics that aren't occurring to me at the moment.)

 

Come to that, the upcoming Week of Awesome competition might be a good opportunity to practice: Try to produce one blog post per day for your project. If you manage that, imagine doing similar for a larger project, but with posts spaced about a week or so apart instead of every day.

 

 

Ok. Thank you for the great content ideas! The top three blogging platforms that I came across were Wordpress, Blogger, and Tumblr. I'll give it a go (I like Tumblr's interface). I'm doing the audio for the Week of Awesome team that I'm a part of, so I'll probably post BGM and/or SFX updates daily on GameDev during the competition before I sign up. smile.png

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I have trouble with social networking, too. I've made accounts for twitter and facebook, but don't have the following to make much use of them. My concern is that without good networking (social or professional), a good game can go completely unnoticed.

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