Community is a funny thing.
We all live in them.
We all reach out to them.
We all have a role to play within them.
And yet; at times, I find my self being far too insular within my communities. Last year (God nearly a full year ago now) I started writing this little blog (and it is little) and found myself being invited into the ‘Newbie Blogger Initiative’ by the always awesome Izlain!
I accepted the invitation and found that being part of a community online is brilliant! People were actually reading my, poorly written, ramblings; and not just family members and real life friends (who felt obliged to read). Now actual people who I didn’t know on a personal level were listening to me and it felt good.
I also joined in the fun of ‘Bragtoberfest’, joined Izlain and Eri (who is always awesome too) on their amazing podcast and had my best month ever on these pages; and although I never had time to play the games with them, it was brilliant fun writing and reading all the brags!
Since then though I really haven’t taken part in any community events and I’ve even found myself not commenting on posts that I’ve read (and believe me I read a lot of your posts).
What a strange thing to do, I was separating myself with the community that I had been invited to and had enjoyed being a part of…what is this?
Being a gamer is all about communities and it is always a talking point among us; steam has groups in which we get people to join us so we can discuss and play games together. Sony has PSN and, of course, Microsoft has Live; hell even the insular Nintendo are allowing us to form communities with Friend codes and Miiverse. Who here has never taken part in a LAN party (either PC or console).
The myth of the lonely pale gamer is well and truly dead in the modern connected world.
Online communities are always a topic of discussion, debate and arguments with us gamers too. In console circles the debate over which platform is better for friend groups rages on day after day (let me help you, its Xbox live). Communities are now a legitimate selling point for manufacturers and yet here I am not participating in my blogging community – the situation seems even stranger.
Community is even a reason for people to avoid a platform, I know several people who refuse to play on Xbox because it is known to be home to many trolls and other antisocial behaviours from a; often seen as, young audience. Hell i even made a (criminally overlooked) funny post highlighting this widely held belief.
Everyone in this blogging community plays MMORPGs – games that are centered around forming a community of people and work towards a common goal; guilds. I used to play MMORPGs (namely UO) and I am very much looking forward to Shroud of the Avatar. I tried WoW and I hated it, the community was absolutely appalling and I quickly retreated from the MMORPG market – the community had alienated me – I was turned off. Looking back I didn’t make enough of an effort, WoW was simply not UO and I was probably looking for reasons to not play.
And here is where I see a pattern forming, when I signed up for Live I was always the guy with the headset on talking to everyone I played with, I made a number of good friends through the platform and quickly filled my friend list. Then I stopped, maybe the sheen came off online multiplayer or perhaps I found myself happy with my circle, but for some reason when I wasn’t playing with friends I wasn’t wearing my headset. On PSN I attempted to talk to people but no-one had a headset – so I gave up.
A lack of effort on my part.
Recently though, I’ve had a revelation, Murf is the best community member I think I have ever seen. I recently left him a comment telling him that he had inspired me to play a much bigger role within my communities and it is a statement I plan to keep.
So far I have:
- Joined a Facebook group for UK twitch streamers and I am playing a big role in that (more about this in this months streamer diary).
- Been working with other (non-UK) streamers in a concerted effort to have a wider catchment of viewers (and to share our existing ones).
- Using Twitter for an actual social network rather than a billboard for new posts and streams.
- Attempting to use Facebook for the same.
And this is just the beginning, I have more plans in store for further my participation in our amazing community including; but not exclusive to:
- Liking and commenting on the posts I read, rather than being just a reader
- Joining in and starting conversations on twitter
- Doing a weekly post in which I highlight the posts that I have enjoyed from other blogs (may not all be video game related) called ‘MrLuvvaLuvva’s luv in’
- Casting my net even wider on YouTube and Twitch to further my own and other peoples audiences with collaborations etc.
So prepare yourselves for an influx of tweets, messages, comments and likes because a more communal MrLuvvaLuvva has been born!