Recently I’ve been feeling like a big hypocrite. Since Resistance: Fall of Man I’ve been extolling the virtues of the community features in our games. And a few weeks ago I mentioned in an interview that I think that community represents a hidden arms race in our industry.
But I have to come clean. I haven’t actually been part of the community. I haven’t been on Facebook until lately. I don’t Tweet. I don’t have a MySpace account. And I only post on forums occasionally. What’s wrong with me? Haven’t I heard that being part of the “community” is freaking awesome? How can I promote community if I’m an outsider?
I’ve told myself that I’m just too busy. How can I find time to post updates when I’ve got work and family obligations, right? Another excuse I’ve made is that I just don’t have anything interesting to say. Do people really want to hear about…well I can’t think of anything offhand that’s particularly cool right now.
But the truth is that I’ve been intimidated. The idea of exposing my life to others through social networking terrifies me. And as a result I’m feeling pretty darn old.
Two weeks ago I tried signing up for Facebook. I figured I’d be able to dip my toes in, lurk in the background and then gradually increase my Facebookosity. As soon as I entered my info Facebook suggested 30 people I should “friend”. About two minutes later I had 30 more people sending requests asking me to be their friend – some of whom I didn’t know at all.
I’m not an unfriendly guy. At least I don’t think I’m unfriendly. But when I was faced with those decisions of who to accept as a friend I felt like running and hiding. Sounds puerile I guess. But I wasn’t ready to open up to the world. So I promptly deactivated my account.
I remember laughing at my mom when she got her first computer and didn’t know what to do. My brother became her personal IT slave and coached her through things I thought one should know from birth. What I didn’t realize was how big a leap my mom was taking – adopting technology that was completely foreign to her.
Now I understand where she was coming from. I never would have imagined that I’d be standing in my parents’ shoes – freaked out by something technology-related. But there I was. Game developer. Occasional tech evangelist. Scaredy-cat.
After some hand-wringing I realized that I have to embrace social media on a more personal level. The truth is at Insomniac we’ve been embracing it for a long time. We’ve been changing the way we make games as a result of the social media/community boom. And if I’m going to be a more effective part of that process, it’s time for me to get over my “Facebookphobia” once and for all.
So I decided to give Facebook another shot. I played around with the privacy settings. And I added a few friends. I’m now up to the incredibly impressive total of 6 including my wife.
And you know what? It’s pretty cool. I’m starting to get it. I still don’t have anything to say. But I like reading my friends’ comments. Maybe I’ll make my first comment soon. Maybe one day we’ll be friends on Facebook. Heck, maybe I’ll even Tweet.
Regardless, in the meantime you’ll certainly be hearing from me regularly in this blog. Thanks for being patient as I slowly catch up to the rest of you.
For now, please feel free to send your comments here on what you’d like me to talk about next…keeping in mind that any future projects are off-limits.
Until next time…