As a social media and community specialist, people often ask me what my job entails. I usually just say “I’m the guy who reads all of the comments” to which I almost always get the response “I’m so incredibly sorry.” 

It’s honestly not that bad though. Even when working in communities for something like a PC shooter where intense and hyper-competitive players are more likely to be toxic, the vast majority of comments are positive or at least neutral. Then when I do see negative ones, they’re usually on the constructive side. I tell clients that even when comments skew negative or insulting, they’re often weirdly coming from a place of support and excitement. These players want the game to succeed and are expressing their disappointment. They’re just not doing so in the healthiest way. There’s also a certain psychic distance I can place between myself and the negativity when I see it. I didn’t make the game so these comments aren’t for me. I’m just the dude who reads the comment that says “WHere the fcuk is the console update you liarss??” and types into the monthly report, “Some console players are expressing disappointment in the lack of updates.” 

That being said, there’s one common critique that gets on my nerves. No amount of polite responding and explanation can get it to go away. Every time I see it, I become overwhelmed with a deep sense of rage and ire that I typically reserve for murderers, corrupt politicians, and stadium country singers. It’s usually along the lines of this: “Why are you posting on social media when you could be working on the game?” 

I don’t know how I can tell you this any clearer: the people who make the posts aren’t the people who work on the game. 

Despite social media being around in some capacity for almost two decades, there are a lot of common misconceptions about who is on the other end of that witty Facebook post you saw promoting a business, good, or service. It’s a college marketing-school intern, the CEO’s daughter, a dude in the mailroom who said he’d do it on the side for fun. Perhaps in the early days of social media before it became the unstoppable beast it is today, this may have been the case. For small businesses without the resources or need for a professional, this may still be the case. However, when it comes to video games with thousands if not millions of players, I can almost guarantee that it’s from someone whose sole responsibility is to use social media to best connect with players. 

“Well, then don’t hire a social media person and instead hire another developer to work on the game,” you might say. The thing is, the alternative isn’t great either. I once had a new client tell me that players were complaining about not getting enough posts and some assumed the game was dead as a result. I started creating posts… and a new group of fans complained that they didn’t care about posts and just wanted to know when the game was done. So you end up being damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Of course, you can’t please everyone. If you could, I’d be out of a job. 

So to anyone who might be reading this who once told a video game account to stop posting and just work on the game, know that these two activities don’t pull from one another. The environment artist crafting a stunning level for players to explore isn’t stopping in their tracks to make a TikTok about the cute ducks hanging around outside the office. I’m not interrupting my monthly sentiment report to spend an afternoon coding. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I don’t know how that shit works. Think of it like a restaurant: if you’re upset with how long your meal is taking, there’s nothing wrong with politely expressing your concern to the waiter, but don’t expect that same waiter to drop what they’re doing, toss on an apron, and start grilling shallots.

Creating a game and then getting people to actually play it is a complex operation. We all have our roles and making it come together isn’t easy. These are fictitious worlds made by real people who make real mistakes. Despite the perpetual march of automation, this is still a human operation plagued by human error. Despite everyone trying their best, there will be poor optimization, glitches, spelling errors, and server outages. Just know that we’re trying our best so consider being kind about it. You can point out the spelling error in my tweet, that “whoever captured this footage has shit aim” (ouch, but fair enough), but for the love of god, don’t tell me to stop posting and work on the game. 

Trust me when I say that you don’t want me to. I guarantee that whatever issue you have with the game will get exponentially worse with me at the helm. 

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