G+ is dying soon. While this doesn’t affect most people, it does affect the DIY RPG Community, which makes me a little sad and a little scared.
This community has meant a lot to me, and so many people have offered encouragement, support, feedback, and ideas that I’ve
stolen borrowed. I’ve found so much satisfaction in making things, running games, and making things for running games. I think that’s grammar…running…things…yeah, I’m good.
Anyway, I don’t want to say goodbye to this wonderful community or the people involved in it and I won’t be moving to MeWe, for various reasons facebook, or any other social media site (except a little twitter, maybe).
Instead I choose something stranger: Blogpocalypse!
I’m excited at the idea of all these creators all hosting/owning their own content. Of every person maintaing a collection of their thoughts and ideas; and visiting the collections of others and leaving comments and links. Of being able to binge-read one person’s ideas.
So, how do we make that happen? Here’s a few steps:
1. Start a blog and post regularly; failed experiments, random musings, half-finished ideas.
2. Add other blogs to your RSS reader.
3. Comment on other blogs. As much as you can.
4. Highlight other blogs on your own. Talk about the cool posts you read this week.
5. Repeat until heatdeath of the universe.
Note: this advice comes off a little strong, but it’s meant to encourage you, not put a burden on you. If your life is too full, or a blog sounds like too much work please don’t stress yourself out! Take care of yourself. It’s important. Your sanity matters.
But if you want to explore a new game design world with me, here’s a good place to get started:
Blog, not website/journal/book
Before going any further it’s important to know what I mean. I don’t mean a place for carefully researched articles or thinkpieces. I don’t mean a storefront for your published games. I mean a blog, a box for all your half-finished ideas, your failed experiments, your random musings.
You know. The same kind of stuff we posted on G+. I know I feel a lot of pressure to produce content on this site, polished and perfect. It’s hard to let go of that and just start posting regularly. But I think it’s important for the community to embrace this part of blogging.
Regular musings are more useful and beneficial than occasional essays.
1. Start a blog and post regularly
Blogger is popular, tumblr seems pretty solid, Wordpress is customizeable, but I cannot recommend Github Pages enough. If you’re willing to learn a little programming, Github is perfect blogging.
Also, it’s super helpful to organize your posts with tags or categories so we can find what we want to read. In the beginning it seems pointless, but after you’ve been writing for a year or two, it helps to have things organized.
2. RSS keeps us connected
The biggest downside to individual blogs is that it’s hard to keep up with everyone. Some designer might get lost in the shuffle, especially if their blog is named something stupid with big words that nobody uses…ahem.
So we must rely on RSS feeds and collections of RSS feeds called OPML files. The biggest list of bloggers I’ve found is here. I’m working on a list of some of my favorite blogs here (link coming!).
Grab an RSS reader and start adding blogs. Feedly and Inoreader seem to be the two big competitors. I’m going with Inoreader after Jacob Hurst made a good case for it.
3. Comments keep us talking
Make sure comments are enabled for your own blog first. Then start leaving comments on others as often as you can. If they wrote something cool, TELL THEM! If you have a neat idea to expand upon, type it up in a comment, or make a post and link it to them.
Keep the conversations and encouragement flowing.
Share other blogs. Talk about your favorites. Feature some newer writers or lesser known bloggers. The more people who do this, the less the chances of someone getting left behind when G+ dies.
Once this post is up I’m going to keep of list of my favorite blogs and posts. Here’s my monthly roundup of my favorite posts.
If that sounds like a lot of work…well it is! It’s a lot harder than clicking “+1”, or sharing within a community. Blogs won’t work for everyone, just like G+ didn’t work for everyone.
Some great additional tips via Brendan S:
As a side note, I’d mention two other factors:
1) Being conscientious about reference and attribution helps build a community of ideas. Mention other people, give credit, include links to other sites that influenced you. Not only is this nice, it also helps your reader see the web of history in the ideas. And it helps you catch reinvention of the wheel.
2) Be prepared for other people to run with your ideas if you workshop them publicly.
I’m excited to try something different. Something deeper than just another social network.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see your ideas floating around the blogosphere!