Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Google Wave and Microblogging

Friday, June 12th, 2009

wavetwitterWhen Google announced Wave, my impression was that it was a glorified messaging protocol. Based on their preview videos, it appeared that Wave would allow you to hook into various services, such as YouTube and Flickr, pulling in content to share in a conversation. The live updating and thread branching features looked interesting, but I left without being firmly impressed. (more…)

How social media helped me land an Xbox gig

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

In the Spring of 2008, I moved to Bulgaria. My wife began helping with her sister’s business – a consulting firm that specialized in servicing foreign real estate developers interested in opportunities in the Republic of Bulgaria. My eldest attended pre-school during the day, while my mother-in-law watched the little one.

Bulgaria was an opportunity for me. We had very low expenses while living overseas and so I was blessed with a chance to build my businesses without having to worry about paying too many bills.

In April, I ran across an article by Chris Brogan entitled ‘Social Media for Your Career’. Chris mentioned a lot of things in the article, but I focused on his mention of LinkedIN. Based on his recommendation, I decided to take LinkedIN for a spin (

One thing I noticed was that you can sort potential connections by geographic location. I decided to see how many people were in my neck of the woods: Sofia, Bulgaria. Right now, there are almost 5,000 people in the Sofia metropolitan area with LinkedIN profiles. At the time, though, there were far fewer – 41 to be exact. With so few people to choose from, I decided to scroll through the list and see what popped out.

On the second page was a rather generic listing for ‘CEO of Haemimont Games’. I had no LinkedIN connections who knew this person, so I had no way to contact him via the service, so I relied on another useful service: Google. What I discovered was that Haemimont Games produced some pretty cool products. Even better, their offices were two blocks away. I called, gave them my credentials as a gaming professional, and asked if they’d like to get together. As luck would have it, they were having a company outing at the local bowling alley the next day and asked me to drop by.

As it turned out, Haemimont was looking for people to help write for their first Xbox title. I’d worked on various game products and Rone, my business partner, had sold screenplays to MGM – we had the skills they were looking for, and I told them as much.

The meeting went well, as did the next one. By the end of May, Moonstew Games was knee deep in our first computer game project (to be released this Christmas).

And that’s how social media helped me land my first Xbox gig. Thanks to Chris Brogan (blogger), I learned about a networking site for professionals (LinkedIN), which pointed me toward a potential business partner. Without those two first steps, I would never have met the good folks at Haemimont Games.

Social media won’t do it all, though. It’s great for making connections and sharing ideas, but it took a real-world connection to seal this deal. That’s just as an important a lesson – something I’ve learned time and time again. The internet is great, but it’s no substitute for face-to-face communication. Instant messages and a webcam can’t replace a living, breathing person.

Likewise, nothing replaces experience. If Rone and I didn’t have a resume to back us up, I doubt Haemimont would have given me more than an invite to go bowling again.

Be professional with a solid track record, be prepared to show that record to others, and strike when opportunities arise – you’ll do fine. Social media can help you find those opportunities, though.

Using Twitter to time Promotions

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

I’ve been tracking various key words on Twitter for some months. My hope is that I can determine when chatter about certain topics spikes, so that I can better help promote the products and services of the companies I work with.

For instance, I have a new podcast coming out this week. It’s a show about game design and game mastering, for people who enjoy roleplaying games. I could announce the show at any time, but why not make the announcement at a time when people are most likely talking about RPGs and podcasts already? Furthermore, why not release each episode during that ‘sweet spot’, if one exists?

Let’s see if one does.

Mentions of the terms “rpg” or “roleplaying game” by day of the week:

Fridays are a good day for RPGs – with 20% more chatter than on Thursday. RPG discussion appears to taper off steadily thereafter, with a nice little spike on Wednesdays.

This makes a lot of sense. Most roleplaying happens on the weekends, when people have more free time. If I wanted to give them something to talk about, I might want to do it just before the weekend, so it’s fresh in their minds before they get together with friends or chat about their gaming experiences online.

I looked at what time of day people are talking about RPGs as well. 9 AM and 6 PM PST see definite spikes in RPG conversation. Whatever the reason, those are the times I need to remember when deciding when to talk about my RPG-related news.

Mentions of the terms “podcast” by day of the week:

Unlike RPGs, there doesn’t appear to be a definitive spike in chatty about podcasts on any given day of the week. The weekend is slightly more active, but the percentage of chatty on a day-to-day basis stays pretty consistent.

Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference in volume of chat during the day. Podcast discussions seem to be a little more popular in the morning than the evening, but not enough to make any real hard judgments.

The Verdict

I’ve decided that I’ll release my new show on Thursday afternoon. This will give people something to talk about on Friday, and it will be fresh in their minds as they go into the weekend. On Fridays, I’ll post on various forums and news sites about each episode, driving conversation about the show so I can take advantage of the Friday spike.

On the Wednesday before each episode releases, I’ll pre-promote the show on forums in a similar manner, riding the mid-week wave of RPG conversation to remind people that a new episode will be coming out the next day.

The Size and Shape of RPG Books (Fear the Boot 129)

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I stumbled into another episode of Fear the Boot last night. Inspired by a twitter conversation, kicked off by Adam Jury of Catalyst Game Labs, we kicked around the idea of non-standard book sizes.

Listen the the show and let us know what your thoughts are on the subject.

SLCN Holiday Party

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

I attended the SLCN holiday party tonight. It’s hard to believe I’ve been in Second Life less than a year (my rezday is in January), and even harder to believe I’ve only been with SLCN for seven months. A lot has changed.

Last year, SLCN served 8,000 episodes. This year? 2.2 million. And our audience keeps growing and growing. Shows like Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe, Sail On! and Giant Snail Racing consistently pull down more than 20,000 viewers each week. Other shows are also on fire – Meta Makeover and Music Academy OnLive, for instance. SLCN is exploding, and I’m grateful to be a part of the team.

If you’re in Second Life, look me up: Normal Rayna.

If you want to see some of SLCN’s great programming, drop by SLCN.TV and let me know what turns you on.

If social media services want me as a user…

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I usually experiment with new technologies and services as they come out. I don’t like to tinker, for the sake of tinkering, though. I like to see what’s out there in case the new hotness will make my life easier. Because of this, even as I experiment, new products and services have a high barrier to overcome if they want me to patronize them in the end – the inertia of the current services I use.

I set up a MySpace account in a fit of boredom. The service had already been out for some time – long enough to become notorious of the immaturity of the content. But it was also known for being a place for artists to self-promote. That interested me. MySpace was good, allowing me to reconnect with some people I would never have been able to keep track of. It was my at-arms-length social network, though. I’d fire off a friendly message now and again, or post on someone’s page, but I wasn’t too engaged.

When facebook came along, it held no appeal to me. What did I need another MySpace for? I had my answer soon enough as MySpace suffered from security breaches that resulted in tons of annoying spam. It got so bad for me that I signed up at facebook and told all my friends at MySpace that I was shutting down my account. I’ve never gone back, and don’t plan to.

A similar tale can be said for Plaxo and LinedIN, except in this case LinkedIN has proven to be such a valuable service that I have no incentive to migrate to Plaxo. And I’m loathe to maintain multiple account and profiles on networks with duplicate scopes. I’m sorry Plaxo, but LinkedIN is where I’m at, and you’re going to have to work really hard to convince me to give you the time of day.

And so we come to micro-blogging and Twitter. Twitter had me – hook, line and sinker. Like others, though, I’m getting frustrated by the little whale that couldn’t (stay off my screen). I don’t think it’s the outages, though, that are driving people to seriously consider other services. While I have a sizeable cloud of contacts on Twitter, and I like simplicity of the service and the “personal news ticker” feel, it’s just text. Other services, like Jaiku and Pownce, use MMS instead of SMS – making them a little more attractive because of the added functionality. The only things saving Twitter right now are the entrenched user numbers and the fact that the other services don’t (yet) have interfaces that are easy to use.

Take Pownce, for instance. If I had a twhirl for Pownce, I’d be in heaven. Pownce Monkey is OK, but there are many things that need to be tweaked before it’s a truly useful application. If Pownce would implement geo-tracking elements a la BrightKite… Well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t shed a tear for Twitter.