There are a few things that I totally get. First, while I aspire to be an influential member of the community at large I realize that I am not. Let’s not kid ourselves. Second, I understand that Social Media, by its very nature, is informal. That is essentially one of its reasons for being; to allow people to interact in a relaxed, virtual setting. Third, and much to my chagrin, I understand that Video Games still maintain a negative stigma. HOWEVER, there are rules of professionalism and decency that still apply.
Below will be two transcripts between others in the Gaming Community, both of which involve supporting our respective endeavors in a business capacity. to protect the innocent, the names have been changed along with any identifying info within the conversation.
We shall begin with… “CTF”
Don’t Be This Guy
Several months ago, I attended a Grand Opening of a Think Geek store at a local mall. It was entertaining to see what they decided to carry over to their brick-and-mortar store, but that’s not the point of this post. While I was there, I picked up a flyer for a local crew that hosted eSports tournaments. Cool! Someone taking the initiative to cultivate a local scene! I pick up the flyer, check out and follow their social media accounts. Turns out the crew runs regular tournaments at one of the local venues. The crowds aren’t huge, but they’re able to fill up the brackets consistently so that helps. Plus, the venues keeps allowing him to book so they must be making money of his business as well, so it’s a win all around. Being the entrepreneur that I am, I reach out to them and send out a tweet,
“Hey, I picked up your flyer! Good to see someone promoting the local eSports scene! I run a podcast, may we could hook something up!”
Months go by. Multiple postings on each of their social media accounts. No reply. Then, a DM on Twitter:
CTF: Do you play overwatch on Xbox
Not exactly the warmest introduction, but let’s give the kid some slack. Obviously he didn’t bother checking out ANY of my feeds, because he would’ve noticed me swooning over Mass Effect: Andromeda, Destiny, and plenty of other lore heavy games. But, he DID reach out, so I’ll play along.
ME: nah, mainly epic rpgs and Destiny
Give him a little something to work with, right? Share a little about myself, what my preference in games are, something to spark a little conversa-
CTF: Do you follow our facebook
Not much for small talk, are we? But what annoys me is that he has no interest in learning about me or my podcast. This is getting set up to be a one way conversation, and his only interest is promoting his brand.
In a matter of two exchanges, I have already been turned off. If they want to pursue something, I’m still listening because I’m all about cooperation and supporting individual efforts and-
CTF: Awesome we have Smash this Monday if you know anyone.
Are you kidding me!?!?! I just told you I play EPIC RPGS AND DESTINY! At what point does Super Smash Brothers seem like a game that I am interested in?
This was the end of the conversation. By this point, it is clear that they have no interest in what I had to offer, what he could offer me, or how we could incorporate either of our businesses for each other. Their sole purpose for this was to see if they could get another body to sign up one of their tournaments, or at least show up to fill one more seat.
There is Hope
A few more months go by, and I’m steadily recording more podcast episodes. Gaining a little more of rhythm, gaining a little more interest, even booking out a few months in advance. I even went as far as to register and put together this website and decided that I would take up blogging again to generate more content!
VRG: Hey, I do VR and AR. I have an active VR project in gaming. Would love to be on your podcast.
Right out of the gate: Not only did this person identify that he would like to be on the Podcast by specifically identifying the purpose of his message, he also cited why he would be a proper fit for the content of VGXT and he used PUNCTUATION! Sweet Sejenus, where did this refreshing breath of professionalism come from? Ok, play it cool:
Me: Sounds like a plan! I will listen to a few episodes and get back to you.
Hey, if he put the effort in to using punctuation the least I could do is the same. Also, I would like to hear first hand how he conducts himself on the mic, how detailed his knowledge is, and just generally, I don’t know, pretend that I have SOME kind of vetting process? I mean, if I want myself and this podcast to be taken seriously I should probably make sure that my guests are who they say they are and that they at least have some kind of clue of what’s going on in the world of tech or gaming.
VRG: Sounds good, thanks. My podcast is a general podcast for XR. If you want to know more about what I’m doing in gaming you can listen to the (other podcast) I was on in December. You can also check out the vr article on (website)
VRG: (link to article)
VRG: (link to podcast he was on)
This. All of this. This is what was missing from my convo with CTF. Not only did he cite additional work that he has done, he provided links. Links to content that is relevant to both his initiatives and mine. Needless to say, I’m getting this guy on as soon as I fulfill some other commitments!
Why This Matters
While I did get a little ranty for the first convo, the purpose of this post was to bring to light the importance of professionalism when first establishing contact. Sure, this blog has an informal tone, but that’s the nature of blogs. If this were a research paper, business correspondence, or any other kind of official documentation, the tone would be much more formal and, quite frankly, shorter in length. In the first case, there was so little going on, I felt like I was inconveniencing HIM. Answers that weren’t even answers. No relevant context given as to why we could be beneficial to each other, let alone how either of us could help the other grow. No explicit statement of intent.
In stark contrast, VRG did all of those things:
- He identified himself
- Identified relevant content
- Clearly stated intent
This isn’t complicated! Keep in mind, that my pinned tweet is,
— Videogame Crosstalk (@VgxtPod) February 24, 2017
It’s as open an invitation you can give without actually using those words, so its not like VRG’s DM was unsolicited. Even if it was and I did not have that as my pinned tweet, it was still a great introduction.
If you are contacting someone in a business or professional capacity, do yourself a favor and ensure that your opening message includes the three points listed above at a bare minimum. If need be, work out a boilerplate that you can customize per recipient. Even in the informal setting of Social Media, a little professionalism can go a long way.