In what will be the last of our ‘serious’ polls for a while (something fun and a bit mad starts tomorrow) I wanted to ask what you guys consider is Social media right now, and how you use it. To do so I picked the three ‘platforms’ which I use the most, but soon discovered that this is far from the norm in terms of others…
Almost immediately the cry went up: where’s Discord? I’ll be honest here, I never use this (even as a chat client) and my experiences of gaming communities of this type have not been great. As a result it is not something I consider worthwhile, but that is not the opinion of many other players. In fact, Discord came up almost as much as Reddit in terms as being looked at as ‘social’ which was something of a surprise. This clearly boils down to a age difference, as well as what is considered important to the individual player.
Facebook does not fare well in this poll (and yes, for fairness, I did post on Facebook with the Tweet in the interests of balance.) Most people seem to think Facebook’s where their ‘normal’ relationships take place leaving Twitter and elsewhere for gaming. I wonder how many people have taken up the Streaming offer as a result: certainly I see most people wanting to use Twitch far more frequently (and a couple suggested this could also be considered as Social media under the terms of our question.) However, the key point to be made here is that the UI itself is a chat channel, when all is said and done, and now the Battle.net launcher’s doing a decent fist at attempting to become the same.
Since the MMO began, chatting and playing have become indivisible. Whether its looking for Mankrik’s wife or spamming Thunderfury spam, or even if you ignore the channels completely and simply use Battle.net’s text service to talk across games… there is no escaping the fact that companies want you to play using their tools and not other people’s. I think that came home to me when Curse vanished and Twitch appeared: suddenly the entire process of playing is indivisible from the tools presented to do so. Welcome to your fully integrated future, when you’ll never need to leave Azeroth to experience the world outside.
I’ll be honest, this does not sit well with me. I don’t like the impersonal nature of the chat clients, and find them difficult to use. Also, without the ability to turn them off when I don’t want to talk to anybody, it is simply easier never to turn the same things on to begin with. I’m not the target audience here, that much is certain, and I feel ActiBlizz have their work cut out wanting to convince more people to use their Facebook login to launch the Warcraft client.
It’s a great idea in principle, but fails to grasp the reason so many people keep their media separate: anonymity.