OP-ED – Kinda Wish Social Media Was Dead, But Gamers Can Still Embrace Maybe, Somehow

By Todd Russell Nov25,2023

Ed. this article has been pushed forward in publishing several times, because not sure the tone quite fits. Have marked as an op-ed, ultimately.

That Insider headline might seem hyperbole, overblown, but is it? Let’s try and dissect that here.

Here’s my advice, if curious, on social media: do what works for you, don’t feel obligated to embrace or use any social media. None is mandatory: yeah, no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. If all your friends are on it and it’s not something you’re interested in spending time following: don’t.

Have seen the rise and slight stumble of that attention whorish thing known as social media and I have always taken more of how can it be useful in my daily flow? Never really have found the right balance.

Twitter/X is probably the social media app I’ve used the most consistently to date — having started when it was in beta in 2007 on one account and 2010 on my most active account (yes, I have two Twitter/X accounts) – and these days my primary use is to share a public daily record of my #GameADayChallenge every day.

The older Twitter/X account is mostly inactive. I’ve made a few posts here and there so Elon’s X doesn’t deem the account unused, but it sort of belongs to my original internet persona, if you will. I didn’t start out on the internet using my actual name, and the history of that internet life, if you will, is probably best saved for another article another day. It’s commonplace that most people don’t use their real names on the internet, they go by some sort of handle. I did, too, but haven’t really used that name or persona, whatever we want to call it, for 10+ years now.

I was also a very active blogger before blogs were even known as blogs (called my first one a, you know, “diary”) and podcaster before podcasts were known as podcasts. That’s not boasting, that’s a fact. Also did a live radio show long before Twitch or YouTube or Kick were anything. If I had kept those original shows going, who knows where they would be now, but didn’t give them up because they weren’t popular, not all of them, I stopped doing for a personal lack of interest and curiosity. Someday, I’ll probably recount some of that here, because the Internet Archive has been cool enough to record that history. I’m proud of most of that history, actually, and there are certainly many readers who lost track of what I was cooking on the internet.

Back to social media. This is all relevant, I promise, and not just rambling. Although it feels like rambling, surely.  When social media became a thing, I sort of unplugged … the old internet me, that original persona, kind of died inside. Never understood why Facebook and Twitter were such big deals?. I mean, we had other phenomenon’s like MySpace, remember them?

As of this writing, I’m well over 675 days in a row. Fast approaching a streak running two years. Ask yourself what you’ve done two years in a row in life besides the physical necessities of life. Some reading probably haven’t even slept every single day in the last two years. Some might have gone without eating a day here or there, but most have eaten, slept, definitely have breathed. But beyond that, what have you done that many days in a row?

Don’t think I’ve talked about this here yet, but for those interested (and for those not, please forgive the rehash), the GameADayChallenge is where I play a “different” game every day. By different, that means the same game played on a different platform counts, so say a game like Robotron:2084, my favorite arcade game. Playing that same game on the Xbox Series X, PS5, the arcade game and/or any other platform constitutes “different.”

My co-host on the Score Chasing Season 2 show Bradygoat is also running his own streak and he’s well over a year. Maybe he’ll write about his streak someday and explain what has propelled him forward, because certainly we share differing goals in this personal challenge that, well, one of us anyway has decided to share every single day on the internet.

The sheer number of games we already own and ones newly acquired and/or played in public will number far more than anything I can accomplish in my lifetime. When this daily streak will end, I do not know, it could be today, tomorrow, a week, a year or much longer, but someday it will end, because I will end. We all end at some point. The idea of pushing me to do something, anything, really every single day was somehow important.

That is about as social media in this 2023 world that I can be.

Guess that’s one of my biggest challenges incorporating social media: that it feels largely like a colossal waste of time. We don’t have much time on this earth, and I’d rather use that time exploring and learning and playing than consuming whatever it is that is cool or popular or trending at the moment (unless it’s game-oriented, that is). I am interested in what others are doing, what you are doing, friendly reader, more than some of my friends might realize, particularly if it’s in the gaming space, which is what Play Games More is fundamentally about.

There was a time that my interests were much, much broader online than they are now, for example my wife and I spent a few years really getting into movies, so we shared our reviews after we just left the movie theater. We had a regularly updated blog and YouTube video channel for our mostly awful, too-dark-to-see vids and our thoughts walking out of the theater. Still think there was some value there, but probably only to a very small number of movie fans. It didn’t go anywhere. Probably a good thing. We didn’t stop doing it, though, because there wasn’t significant interest from others, we stopped doing it because we stopped being interested in most new movies coming out. And, well, there was COVID, and that changed the world for most people on planet earth.

So, back to social media, at each step of the way have tried to incorporate some of that into what was currently of interest, because if something isn’t interesting to me, then there’s limited bandwidth for me to cover, much less share it with others. Sometimes, sharing something I don’t know about on social media can help with learning and discovery, so there is another possible usage scenario/idea.

Have shared my story, but I’m really more curious about yours? Please share how/if you use social media that is gaming-related? Have you found some creative way to use/embrace social media? Or is it all dead to you? Or dying? Do you see it largely a waste of time, also, and not something that will stand the test of time?

Am all eyes and ears. Use the comments, share this discussion wherever I might share a link and we can discuss there, whatever. There’s more to social media than “what did you eat for lunch?” which really doesn’t interest anybody except maybe your dietician and closest family members and friends (those that want to be sure you’re eating something, anyway). Do share, do tell.

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