I have a superpower, which is effectively useless. I may have mentioned it before. I have an uncanny, even seemingly impossible ability to memorize dialogue from TV shows and movies, even if I’ve only seen them once, depending on the style of the show. Sometimes its even from shows I just overhear and don’t watch. Its strange. A line of dialogue that comes to mind to me today is this, said by Toby in the west wing:
I asked him about his vote, he told me, I said then if he's asked about it tonight he should and only because it's the easiest thing to remember, tell the truth.
I like this quote, and I like to broaden it out to a general principle, which is, if you want to make life easy for yourself, you should, because it’s the easiest thing to do, be yourself. I think this applies pretty strongly to social media.
I was chatting to a dev recently about social media profiles, and what you should put on there in terms of your Bio, and whether you should admit to this, or highlight that… and it got me thinking about the fact that I never really bother spending too much time thinking about this sort of thing. The ONLY exception I make, and the only situation where I edit myself, or pay any attention to what I’m sharing or talking about, is that although I’m married, I don’t mention my wife a lot on social media, because I do not feel like I have the right to include her in any public discussion without explicitly asking her. Its generally good form to let people stay in control of their own privacy. I also dont make that many references to exactly where I live…because there are crazy maniacs out there, so why risk it?
But in terms of everything else, I’m pretty much ‘me’ on social media, and I thus tend to ‘enjoy’ it more than many other game devs I talk to. I do *not* spend a lot of time thinking about ‘what to tweet’ or ‘what I should write a blog post about’. My twitter and my blog are basically my diary, and my chats in bars with buddies. I’m not writing the Gettysburg address here, and I dont think what I type here will accelerate or destroy my career in a single paragraph.
There is a brilliant ‘German living in England’ comedian called Henning wehn, who makes a whole career out of affectionately mocking his own Germanness, and he has a great line, which I find very funny, and if you don’t see that its funny, I think you might be taking it the wrong way:
“I’m just one accidental holocaust denial away from ruining my career”.
Which if anything is mocking people who cant see that they are being offensive, whilst also giving a nod to the English view of Germans. He also has a lot of jokes about stalingrad, I’ve seen him live twice, he is awesome.
My point is, you ARE NOT going to lose half of your steam revenue because you say something mildly controversial on twitter, or because you admit that you enjoy a certain band, or comedian, or that you eat meat, or you are gay, or bisexual, or trans, or black, or white, or anything else. 99% of your customers don’t follow you on twitter, and 99% of those who do follow you because you make games/art/whatever. If you are a republican, or Christian, or communist, or animal rights activist, then fine, thats part of YOU, thats the honest YOU. Unless your hobbies include serial killing you are unlikely to shock people with revealing the true you, so go ahead and do so, its incredibly liberating. Plus people are easily blocked and muted on twitter anyway.
I do all of my weekly blog videos in one take, unless something catastrophic goes wrong. I’m not going to go back and edit out things I said that were dumb, or if I swear, or I make an unfunny joke, or I screw my face up and look baffled. I am an unfunny dumb guy who often looks baffled and forgets what he started talking about, and letting me do that on video makes video recording a breeze.
And yes, a non-trivial proportion of my twitter posts are made after a drink or two (especially the really bad ones). I still (sort of) remember this night:
omg swords..haggis,,,wine…wshikey.,…si=o uc fluippingalcohola nd dancinf, Its burns night, boody ehekkl Ive ne er bebe so drunk,
— cliffski (@cliffski) January 22, 2016
..and hey, thats fine. This is what I’m like, and I think people prefer to really know someone is a real person rather than just a stream of PR fluff like:
“We at positech are so excited to have #ProductionLine in this years #SummerSale. Its our most popular SKU, going forwards.”
And I don’t think it really matters to have some politics in your social media. I don’t hide mine. I’m a liberal-minded capitalist with a passion for environmental issues. I’m sat here typing this wearing a Greenpeace t-shirt and not afraid to say so. You might hate my views on tax, or dislike Greenpeace, or think I swear too much, or be shocked I’m an atheist. Thats cool. everyone’s different, but it makes little difference to whether or not you will enjoy playing production Line, and I’d rather be honest about who I was than spend half my life trying to play a bland inoffensive ‘role’ to add 0.1% to my income.
Be yourself, its not as stressful as trying to be something else.