Community Challenge – Communication Gaps

There are some community communication gaps that I’m sure everyone is struggling with right now and they all stem from the choice of medium.

Let’s start old-school; Email.
I find myself over-explaining that if you need help with your private account matters, posting your username and password on Facebook is probably not going to net you the desired result. Instead I have to instruct our players to use email to talk to our help team. This presents a problem since most of our players don’t actually use email, let alone give us a real email address when they sign up for the game. So they’re stuck without help and I’m stuck repeating myself. (also see previous post about the technologically inept)
The gap here lies in communicating the need for, and helping with the understanding of privacy requirements.

Let’s move forward; Social Media
Yes I hate that term as much as anyone, Social Media is neither social, nor media, but that’s a rant for another day. My community is fragmented, fractured if you will, between different shards of communication medium. My Twitter users are not the same audience as my Facebook users, and let’s face it, no one’s on Google or Pheed. Pinterest is its own animal and will not be let out of its cage at the moment.

Twitter is a much more immediate, succinct and (in my opinion) rewarding medium. Conversations can be had but they are in the moment, relevant to the here and now and have a much more ‘live’ interactive feeling to them. It’s a group of people at a very large party who are having a wonderful engaging conversation that evolves and dissolves naturally. It can be high maintenance, but usually only over the short-term.

Facebook is the speaker on the podium who makes an announcement and then sits back to watch others have the discussion, only piping in once in a while to redirect the conversation.  Information on Facebook lingers which can be used to your advantage but it certainly requires more maintenance over the long-term.  People will continue to comment on things you said months ago, and you tend to look at them like someone who is late to class.

The gap here lies in effectively communicating using these different methods, with differing audiences who need different take-away and timeliness from those messages.

And where does that leave our underage players who cannot use Facebook, Twitter or Email? I’m afraid they’re struggling and I’m challenged to aid them.

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Where are your values?

Developers truly succeed when they realize that the value of a game is not in how much money people spend on it.


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Community Challenge – Explaining the Internet

I find it an interesting contradiction that the people who have the most access to computers these days are often those who understand them the least.

When I touched my first Apple ][e I was obsessed with how it worked. How does the code do what it does when it’s just line after line of green text on a black background? I painstakingly copied text out of magazines to make my very own version of Downhill Skier and whatever else I could get my hands on. I had cassette tapes (yes, you read that right, cassettes) filled with various games and programs and I knew how each and every one of them worked because I watched it form beneath my fingertips.

And then, wow, the internet‽ Where do I even begin‽ It was wonderful, when it was working. We left our 14.4 modems to churn overnight on game patches, waited patiently while everything saved to our tiny tiny hard drives. We played games that quite frankly looked like minecraft and they were amazing! Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake and so on. And then the MMO space opened up, and suddenly I was playing with people all over the world!  I was a part of a community with shared interests and turmoils.

So what happened between now and then? Why is there a complete lack of understanding of how computers and the internet work for those who grew up with them? Is it just so taken for granted that the desire to learn how and why is gone? Why do I daily have to explain to people that connecting to a game server isn’t like plugging in a cable between their computer and our servers. That seems to escape so many people, of all ages.

When did we start taking this all for granted? Where did we exchange the quest for knowledge for the quest to be first/famous/heard? How did we lose the wonder part of this wonderful world we live in?

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