Twitter has been taking the L since Elon Musk took over, and like many people I've decided it's time to move on to Mastodon. Of course, this is a new platform to me and I'm completely in the dark on how to engage with the #gameDev and #indieDev communities. While it feels like we'd rather quit social media instead of re-building our following from scratch, it's easy to forget how Twitter has been an invaluable tool for the game dev industry, both personally and professionally.
Let's take a moment and think about the ways Twitter has been used to help reinforce the community of game devs that exist in the industry.
Some of my favourite weekly events are #screenshotSaturday and #wishlistWednesday. During these days, my timeline is filled with amazing game projects, each with some sort of unique art style, gameplay mechanic, or some kind of hook that reminds you of game development truly being an industry of passion. Getting a glimpse of all of these wonderful projects inspires me to not only work on my own games, but to engage with the community, provide feedback and share my own works as well.
Like with any industry, navigating the professional landscape and hiring process can be difficult, especially for fresh faces and a tight-knit industry. Having access to company Twitter feeds and how the community feels about certain companies can influence your decision to work there. This is extremely easy to understand if you're a marginalized member of the industry and should be counted as a basic safety protocol. Knowing who works where, what the company social values are, and what previous employee experiences were like are all important in avoiding bigotry and inequality.
Connecting at Cons
No matter your position in the game industry, you've probably attended a conference or two. There may be a speaker you are excited to listen to, old co-workers you'd like to catch up with, or friends who you haven't seen in forever. More than often, I've seen people talk about which conferences they'll be flying to on social media, letting people know if they're available to meet or will be around the venue. The best way I've seen this done is to put "✈️ [Location]" in your name. Not to mention, it's pretty wild to see someone who've you only followed on Twitter actually in person.
Learning new concepts
The game industry moves fast with new technologies, best practices, and trends appearing every day. Keeping on top of them all is utterly daunting, but having a timeline full of this information makes it a little bit easier. I'm no artist or composer, but I've enjoyed seeing the advice of @delaneykingrox and @atelierjoshua pop up on my timeline and knowing that students and beginners are learning from the advice of more experienced professionals.
State of Twitter
It's not a stretch to say that Twitter has impacted the game dev industry. While the state of the platform is problematic, I don't believe Twitter will die. Unfortunately, there are some who are willing to be compliant with the $8/month price tag of "verification" just to remain platformed for their communities. Really, most people who are paying for it, are only doing it for the sake of trolling (ironically, what this whole feature was supposed to prevent).
Mastodon is in no way going to replace Twitter and has a long way to go in terms of UX, but there are benefits to Mastodon which drives me to use it as my future platform. With a smaller community, it's easier to engage with other people and become recognizable. There's much less algorithm noise and I can focus on the content people from people I actually follow. Additionally, with a smaller community, there's less bothersome insight from people who have zero idea what they're talking about. Finally, it would appear the owner of Mastodon seems to take a hard stance on their policies, something which Twitter has always struggled with and undoubtedly forever will.
If you're new to Mastodon and in #gameDev or #indieDev, check out my server instance igda.social. Right now, I have about 50 slots open and aiming to grow the community into a larger server. If you're a fan of posting your game dev ventures and WIPs, then this is the place for you.
What about you? Are you planning on staying on Twitter? Going to make a shift to Mastodon or some other platform? Or maybe you've decided to completely drop social media all together? Let me know in the comments, I'm curious how this shift has affected everyone in the industry, especially those who host large communities.