Author Topic: Using G+ effectively  (Read 2619 times)

Tim C Koppang

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Using G+ effectively
« on: January 20, 2015, 10:05:40 AM »
Wow, am I late to this thread!

To this day, you'll see that posts about actual stuff that actually happens, or that people are actually working on, tend to get silence (or, at best, silent +1's and "cool!" responses). It's hard to make conversations about that. It's much easier to talk about what people are talking about, and how they talk about it, and what their intentions are and blargle what a waste of time.
This tracks well with my experience, and is indicative of the type of social media frustration I experience all the time. My solution is to post less, and simply work in private. That sounds like belly-aching, which is fine, but I think it's also in part because I feel like there is no central place to talk about design that simultaneously puts a lot of eyes on my work. As an ancillary point, posting on G+ feels much more like advertising than starting a discussion, which leads to mixed messages and my own holding back. When I don't hold back my opinions, it tends to confuse/anger people (which is compounded by the fact that I don't post often enough, which means that people don't know me or where I'm coming from). In all, I've largely been checking out of social media save for the occasional post to let people know that my publishing and design interest are still alive, full stop.

Nathan, you seem much better at "the G+," especially with your WWW efforts. I think those are successful because you post often (including your video chats), and you are coming from a place of honest enthusiasm. That gives me hope, but would you say you are getting creative inspiration from those chats/posts -- or do they fit more appropriately into the category of audience-building/advertisement (and I don't mean to imply any negative connotations with those labels).

ndpaoletta

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2015, 11:18:24 AM »
(hah, fate has brought me back to this thread right after a question for me, weird!)

Tim, it's a mixed bag. Public posts are pretty much advertising, in the sense that I'm not looking to get anything out of the discussion part (if any). For WWWRPG in particular, though, I've had a small circle all through the development process of friends who have been interested in and giving me feedback on the game, and that's been super helpful. Most of the people in the circle ended up contributing to the game in the end (like Ian and Bret and Eppy). It could as easily have been a set of forum posts or an email chain but, in this particular case, it ended up happening on G+.

That said, one of the halo effects of writing a game in a subject matter that has it's own separate fandom is that you get to talk about the thing, even when we're not talking about my game. The G+ Community, in particular, has activity because people post stuff about wrestling in general and it's a shared interest community beyond just the game. But people are pitching ideas for the game and such, which is definitely inspirational to me on the creative level even if it's not an intense back-and-forth design discussion.

But yeah, posting from a position of honest enthusiasm and engaging with other people as fellow fans has generated the most activity for me over time, I think.

And for the record, the majority of my traffic for the Kickstarter (which is pretty much the only thing I have real numbers for) came from Twitter, not G+. In terms of actually getting the word out, Twitter continues to be a better venue than G+, though G+ is a more persistent medium.

Tim C Koppang

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2015, 11:30:43 AM »
And for the record, the majority of my traffic for the Kickstarter (which is pretty much the only thing I have real numbers for) came from Twitter, not G+. In terms of actually getting the word out, Twitter continues to be a better venue than G+, though G+ is a more persistent medium.

That's fascinating to me because I had the opposite experience. Most of the traffic for 39 Dark came to Kickstarter via G+ or direct discovery on the Kickstarter site itself. I like Twitter, but I don't think I'm very good at it (not that I'm very good at G+). What made up the difference on G+ is a greater number of re-shares.

In any case, I appreciate the response. I'm still not sure what to do about developing a circle in which to bounce ideas off of people. Then again, I've always worked in relative privacy, so maybe this isn't much of a change.

Ron Edwards

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« Last Edit: January 20, 2015, 07:46:13 PM by Ron Edwards »

glandis

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Re: [Circle of Hands] social media doing its job
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2015, 01:44:34 AM »
Just so folks know - the Judd and Michael posts seem to be public, but the others aren't. If you're not much of a G+ person, haven't circled the users or whatever it is this list of links may not be very useful.

Still - CoH photos "in the wild." Yay!
-Gordon

Tim C Koppang

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Re: [Circle of Hands] social media doing its job
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2015, 08:00:42 AM »
The book looks great, Ron! I dove immediately into the setting material, which I find fascinating even as the section on violence completely freaked me out. I was also struck by how much meta level commentary you inserted into various other sections (notes about development, suggestions from play-testers and readers, etc.). That sort of thing makes sense considering the Heartbreaker project, but it also lends a conversational tone to the book.

Steve Hickey

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Re: [Circle of Hands] social media doing its job
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2015, 03:42:25 PM »
That top post is mine. It looks like I can't change its status to 'Public'. My google plus ID is +Steve Hickey, if you want to add me to your circles and read it.

I'll be getting back to my read-through review shortly, after I've recovered from running games at Kapcon!

Ron Edwards

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Re: [Circle of Hands] social media doing its job
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2015, 04:40:12 PM »
Apparently there is a thing called the Noah Tax, in which - when you post say a "I just bought this" selfie - you're supposed to say at least one thing you're excited about.

I don't know. It seems awfully available to ins-and-outs exceptions and shamings, so that if your buddy posts his "I got my book" selfie, that's cool, but if someone you don't like does it, you can snark and cite the Noah thing as if it were Godwinning or Rule 34.

But then I think about it some more and the problem is that I kind of agree with the principle. I'd like to see a bit of content, not a dissertation or a review, just enough for effective advertising, in that array of excited selfies I see in my stream all the time, whether for my books or someone else's.

I'm not too thrilled with always having to be worried about what some other person, anyone, thinks about how everyone should be using G+. It's like when someone would bitch on the Forge about how things are supposed to be done on "forums," or "public forums," or on "regular forums," although in reverse - the response isn't "this is my forum, no one said it was 'regular,'" but rather, "no one owns this space, so whatever." However, people do own social-influence space and aren't afraid to use it as a club. So ... treacherous waters.

Ron Edwards

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2015, 04:49:18 PM »
I split some of the above posts from the big interview thread in My Stuff, and merged them with the one about G+ posting Circle of Hands. Seems like a good time for the general title I've given this one.

Jesse Burneko

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2015, 06:56:53 PM »
I recently took a stab at trying to heavily organize my G+ stuff.  I basically said, hey here's a bunch of stuff I work on from time to time does any of it excite you?  A bunch of people then noted (via +1ing a list projects in comments) which of my things interested them.  I then put all those people in specific project oriented circles.  I also went and turned off all those circles from showing up on my front page.  So unless you're in my Friends or Game Designer circles I don't see your posts unless I go looking for them.

Since then I've posted two updated game drafts and one "thinking out loud" post about a third.  And.... crickets.  Not a whole lot of feedback.

Interesting data point: I have also been doing this with two Powered by the Apocalypse projects.  One is a setting extension for Dungeon World the other is a setting for The Sprawl.  Because it's much easier to post PIECES (individual moves, individual playbooks, individual bits of setting text) of those games rather than whole manuscripts those have been a lot more active.  Not a lot of conversation but much more positive reinforcement (+1ing) or appreciative comments ("this looks great!").

Jesse

Ron Edwards

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2015, 07:21:51 PM »
I gave up on any circles organizing and posting when I realized that posts couldn't be linked to externally unless they were public. I have a few circles that I originally set up, but I only post publicly now, or rarely, one on one. Effectively I have one big circle and post accordingly.

It's led to both good and bad. The good is that the promotion is fun, tossing out little comments and stuff is fun, people get amused or interested, and sometimes good contacts emerge. More often than not, someone who was inclined to be hostile or uncertain toward me says "hey that was pretty interesting" and you know, harmony, Aquarius, all that stuff.

The bad is that assholes have two advantages. For one thing, they can reshape a narrative of interacting with you instantly, by broadcasting it, or by hammering a ton of new posts out which no one person could address. For another, it's a matter of time - if you're dedicated to provoking or lying, it takes only a little effort to keep it going and you set the pace for the defender, who obviously will never keep up. It's the old "get him dancing" trick, which G+ seems painfully well equipped to facilitate.

Tim C Koppang

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 09:50:27 AM »
Ron, that's interesting. My most negative experiences come when I misread the purpose of someone else's post. If they intend something to be more like advertisement and I try to start a critical discussion, I often get a passive aggressive "go away" because I'm (evidently) "harshing the vibe" or whatever. That can be quite frustrating given the blurred line between attempts to start a discussion and self-promotion.

The pattern doesn't always hold, but it holds frequently enough that I catch myself re-wording harsher language and adding "let's all get along" caveats to my comments. In terms of what to do with this information, I find that it's best to consider a typical G+ post as a self-contained blast of information more akin to a post on a personal blog. The content of the post itself might be informative, but the comments should be ephemeral. The exception would be a community or person with with whom you know is open to more lively discussion.

Summary:

G+ is for interesting tidbits and self-promotion; and
Forums, etc. are for more in-depth discussion.

Ron Edwards

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 11:01:04 AM »
That's a nice rubric, Tim, but the problem is other people. I've seen plenty of (i) designation of either a given post or the whole G+ environment as a place with expected social properties, as in "you have balls coming in here and ...", or (ii) as in "I thought this was a public post so I can say whatever I want without getting criticized," and I'll bet you a dollar these kinds of people have made both these contradictory claims in the space of a day. It's the mid-1990s Usenet all over again.

And bluntly, no one uses forums. I say, "come over to the forum and we can really work this out," and over and over, I get "I don't do forums," or "where you can control the conversation? No way." Look at this one: a piddly ten people at best, with minor chat. I don't mind the size really, but I do mind that when someone does evidently want to talk with me, they can't seem to clamber onto a more stable platform to do it.

I agree that the only real utility for me is promotion. But these pitfalls are lying right there in wait for exactly that - a perfectly reasonable Kickstarter re-share can turn into a minefield of "you're spamming, you're shilling," if someone feels butthurt or ignored from some previous week's post (when they wore me out with their incessant "so then but" commenting), and that can be re-shared just as easily, or more so.

Ron Edwards

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 11:03:13 AM »
OK, the bit about this forum wasn't really fair. The playtesting for Circle of Hands threads justified any and every effort I've ever spent on this webpage, so I'm not complaining.

Dan Maruschak

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Re: Using G+ effectively
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2015, 12:17:31 PM »
My experience of G+ as a user without anything commercial to promote is that I'm not a fan of the "opt in circle" thing that some people do. I feel like telling someone that I'm interested in being in their content-specific circle is kind of like a pre-commitment to actually read their stuff. What if their game design stuff (or philosophy, or art, or whatever) turns out to be less interesting than I hoped? Alone this wouldn't be a big deal, but this combines with my gut reaction of "when I add people to my circles I put some thought into what I think they'll be interested in, why don't you do that for the people you add?". (In practice I basically either post publicly or to my RPGish circles, even for stuff that's not fully RPG related, so the idea that I target my posts is probably a bit of inertia from how G+ was supposed to work originally rather than how I actually use it). I'm especially unlikely to ask to be part of someone's circles when people want their prospective followers to do it via commenting rather than +1ing a comment. Other people don't seem as averse to the practice as I am, though.

When they were first rolled out I had hoped that G+ Communities would kind of bridge the gap between old-school forums and the broadcast firehose of something like Twitter or to a lesser extent G+. But in practice I think most people are treating them like just another broadcast channel to "get eyeballs" rather than a place to have specific conversations. When I launched the ReForged Community I thought that making it private might change the dynamic a bit, but I think the ephemeral nature of the average G+ thread just makes it a tough place to have heavy substantive conversations, it's far more conducive to lighter modes of interaction.