Thursday, December 06, 2012

Rings Around the World

 Life is better with the Super Furry Animals. FACT.

Twitter is really a rather amazing thing. I mentioned at the weekend how Blizzard have embraced the social media network as an active way of not simply selling their products, but in communicating with their player base. In fact, I think it is fair to say that the company really 'gets' how immediacy can make a difference. Involving people is all about willing, after all: it's as much about people communicating BACK as it is Blizzard sticking out the feelers.

Let us demonstrate this in a personal capacity, with not one but two examples from yesterday's Feed.

First up: Ghostcrawler Hijacked My Tweet (or how Being a Sock Puppet Won't Impress Anybody)

It should come as no surprise that I follow Greg Street on Twitter. I occasionally chuck him a frustrated 140 character rant (CRZ and pet related)  but don't really expect a response because, you know, he's a busy guy and frankly I suspect he gets a lot of grief about the subjects I gather ire on. I do however read a lot of his responses because I find it interesting to see what he reacts to publicly. This has, over the last few months, given me a sense of a company who are all to aware that they probably tried a bit TOO HARD to keep everyone happy with the Expansion, and that inviting a million people into your Beta might also not have been the smartest exercise.

Yesterday, I picked up the following exchange with, I have to say, a sense of disappointment:

No. No. Just NO.

See, the thing is guys, this is just glib generalisation. There's no 'protocol', Blizzard constantly ask for feedback. The problem isn't Blizzard's actions, it's how guys like you perceive them in relation to your own issues and concerns. Too many people assume things are for their benefit and the game should focus on individual concerns, which is just never going to happen. EVER. Reading comments like this make me stop thinking about Blizzard as a nameless corporation and think about how the people must feel when faced with untruths like this, and frankly whatever I feel about whatever part of the game that's causing me trouble becomes completely irrelevant. People deserve respect, regardless of what you think of their game.

Normally, I'd not say anything, but today I'd had enough of whining from other sources, so I responded:

Yes, Yes I did.

I freely admit at the time I had no idea what issue these two guys were grumpy about: it could have been anything. As it turns out, this particular ire was focussed firmly at PvP, which I have subsequently discovered many people feel has been broken in 5.1. Well, that's not the case. According to a tweet thirteen minutes later, it's not been right since the Expansion:

I'm sorry, who are you again?

Yes, Ghostcrawler hijacked my Tweet. In fact, let it not be said he doesn't know how to score the big PR points because when you read this 'conversation' as it happened it makes perfect sense. I nodded the ball across, and Mr Street stuck it into the net. Blizzard admit mistakes. The word 'apologise' is IN THAT SENTENCE. However, what became clear after this (and with the subsequent messages I got copied into from what I like to refer to as 'Egg' accounts, when a user still has the default image from joining Twitter) is that for some people, even an apology isn't enough.

I'm going to go on record here and say I don't envy GC's job one little bit. The amount of crap this guy must get flung at him has to be STAGGERING, and even saying 'yeah we stuffed up, we'll try and fix that' isn't enough for people who then create 'sock puppet' bogus accounts to further throw fuel onto their own ridiculously pointless fires. It seems to me that what a lot of people could do with, in situations like this, is the ability to step away from the game for a while and get a sense of perspective.  These guys are doing the best they can, honest. If you want to be one of 'those' people who sticks on their Tinfoil Hat and has decided this is simply a way to keep us giving Blizzard cash, I'll say simply this. The only person making you part with your cash is you. This is the time to go walk away.

However, not all Blizzard Twitter feeds are as dangerous as GC's. We present The Curious Case of the WTF Mug, which began then CM Zarhym posted this Instagram picture later that evening:

Twitter's not just there for the whiny things in life... :D

I found myself thinking two things when I saw this picture: they all look reassuringly human, and OMG WHERE DO I GET ONE OF THOSE MUGS???? Yes, I'm referring to the WTF? mug on the desk next to Booth #5. One of Twitter's greatest strengths (as we mentioned at the start) is immediacy, and I had but one response to make on the basis of what I'd seen:

You want a cheap gag, I'm your woman :D

I do this all the time, which is borne out by the number of Tweets I've made since I created my account. Retweeting other people, making cheap gags... it's all about the immediacy of the moment. Other people understand this, I see with some satisfaction, so I feel I'm doing this right. I also don't expect any kind of response pretty much 99% of the time, especially not from guys like this who are clearly busy doing their jobs.

Needless to say, when it came it pretty much made my evening:

How to create a Twitter Moment (TM) Just add random!

I'd like to think the above exchange was like that moment in a crowded room where there's a couple of people that you don't know but hugely respect, and you make a comment that makes them laugh, and there's a brief but satisfying second of personal association. The benefit of doing this on Twitter means we can exist in two different timezones as it happens and I don't have to worry about embarrassing myself or having something stuck in my teeth. Is there anything the Internet CAN'T do?

Twitter is a lot of things to many different people: for Blizzard it continues to be a potent platform for discussion on their PR Machine. As long as the rest of the World grasp its limitations and understand their place in relation to it, I'd expect there will be many more opportunities for such crossovers between people like Me and people like Them for some time in the future. However, people need to understand that patience and understanding only work if both sides are prepared to use them.

It's bringing the world together, after all.

1 comment:

Saga said...

Ooh, now I want one of those mugs too!

That is the really neat thing with internet I guess; the communication. Surely gamers and developers have never been closer together than they are now.

Ps. You should point Santa's Elves to this site for the mug: