This blog was also featured on Gamasutra on 12/04/2013.
A lot of developers nowadays use social media. For networking, marketing or just social conversation. Still a lot of people, mostly new developers, answer ‘no’ when I ask them is they have a twitter handle. It surprises me that in this day and age, not every developer or aspiring developer, starts with setting up a twitter account. Some say ‘yes, but I don’t really use it much ‘, which is a missed chance in my opinion. As in my experience, it’s one of the most useful and efficient social media tools there is.
So to all you game developers out there, be it rookies, me being a rookie myself, or veterans. Here are some reasons why you should start using Twitter, if you haven’t already.
It’s one of the most useful networking tools out there. You can connect with people by one click on the follow button and receive every bit of information they have to share. You can interact by reacting to tweets they make without having to deal with befriending them, signing up for something or start up a program to write them an e-mail. Maybe they’ll even react and you end up having an interesting discussion. Just keep following interesting people and engage them socially.
Twitter makes reaching a target audience easy as can be. Every tweet you send out, gets posted on the Twitter feed of everyone that’s following you, if they re-tweet you, it gets posted on their feed and if someone re-tweets that..you get the message. Not only has it the lowest barrier for your message to get spread, Twitter also has the ability to add hash-tags to your tweet (#gamedev #games, etc.) With these you can reach an audience interested in a certain topic. A hash-tag, for those that don’t know (which is probably no one reading this, but still) makes it easy for someone to search every tweet within a certain topic to be displayed, without having the need to follow everyone. So marketing your product for a target audience via Twitter saves you a lot of work. Not that you should use only Twitter for this, but it’s a big help.
Everyone likes a good in-depth discussion about an interesting subject right? I know I do! So when I’m bored, I send out a tweet with a question that’s (apparently) bugging me at that moment. Mostly about stuff that is game related, but it can be about anything. Send it out with the right hash-tag and wait till the responses start filling up your Twitter feed. Depending on the time, subject and I’m sure a lot of other stuff, these discussions can soon grow out to something that not only you talk about with someone, but everyone with each other as well. I’ve learned a lot about various subjects in a short amount of time this way. Everyone all over the world can share their thoughts and answers to your questions. What more do you want?
Because talking to someone over Twitter is so easy, it’s often a better way of sharing something about the progress of your game with people that could help you get exposure. That is, if it’s short enough. It won’t replace the need to send out e-mails to your entire mailing list. But it could save you a lot of time to keep people up to date. Also in my experience it’s a way less intrusive way of following up on your e-mails, if someone hasn’t responded.
Twitter also has the option to create lists. This is a way for you to add people on Twitter, tweeting about a certain subject, to a list. Without having the need to follow them all first. You can make a list of game developers only and have it open in your browser. This way you keep up-to-date with everything that people withing your list post about game development. You can create multiple lists about just as many different subjects this way, So you don’t have to filter relevant tweets from your main Twitter feed yourself (of course you still have to create the lists and fill them with interesting people).
6 The core
Twitter only allows you to use 140 characters. This includes spaces, so it’s not an easy job to share all that info without crossing that limit. This is why you sometimes really need to get to the core of what you want to tell. Be it the USP (Unique selling point) of your game, the latest news about your game or just an opinion about something. It can be hard to get to the core, the most interesting information, about what you want to say. Twitter is a great tool to train this asset. So for every piece of information that you wish to share, at least try to make a version that fits the 140 character limit.
I’m sure there are a lot more reasons for using Twitter and just as many why you should not. But every time someone tells me they don’t have, or use Twitter, they miss an opportunity to share their wisdom and experience with the world. A lot of wisdom can be put in just those 140 characters. So whether you tweet about your game, your education, your job or your evening dinner. Just be sure to keep updating people with what you have to share with the world.