2 June 2016 | 86 Comments
So far, 2016 has been the year that Stonemaier Games has embraced Facebook groups for conversations about our games.
It started with me simply joining an existing group for Viticulture and Tuscany. Soon after, an ambassador started a group for Scythe, and another did the same for Euphoria. Charterstone is the most recent addition.
The biggest step was about a month ago when I started a treasure chest group. I liked that visual element of separate threads within a group and that they can include images and videos. I like that threads can be started by any user. And I like that I have admin control in case someone gets really nasty within the group.
Other than those perks, I created the treasure chest group for two reasons: One, for a long time I’ve juggled conversations about the treasure chests through updates on two separate Kickstarter campaigns, so I wanted to consolidate them into a single place. Two, I wanted to create a collective space for people to interact during and after the Token Trilogy campaign, which I ran through my website.
That was when things got a little weird.
I started to receive comments and messages from people saying that I was “punishing” them for not being on Facebook. They said I was excluding them from the conversation. Some were worried about not being in the loop about future releases, despite the many other platforms we use for communication (Twitter, e-newsletter, this blog, BoardGameGeek, Kickstarter, YouTube, etc).
But it was the comments about “punishment” that really stood out to me. That’s a strong word. It implies that I’m choosing to hurt you because of your actions. Yet the power is in your hands. The onus is on you to join Facebook. I’m not standing in your way.
Rather, my responsibility as a creator is to select an effective way to let backers and customers engage with me and with each other. I can’t post the same content over and over on every platform, nor can I actively participate on every platform. So Facebook–1.6 billion users, no barrier to entry, a visually appealing conversation, and a solid notification system–is my platform of choice for conversations and engagement.
Now, I’m not saying you should join Facebook. I’m sure you have valid, well-informed reasons for not doing so. I’m just saying that the decision not to join the conversation on Facebook is completely in your hands. There’s no element of punishment here.
To put it in perspective, let’s look at e-mail. There are over 2.5 billion people with e-mail accounts. It’s your choice to have an e-mail address, which allows you to receive our e-newsletter. If someone tells me I’m punishing them because they don’t have e-mail, I have to disagree. I’m not going to start sending out a printed newsletter in the mail to people who choose not to have e-mail.
Here’s a less outlandish example that I’m sure every creator can relate to: Sometimes I post important information in project updates. Like, on a recent Scythe project update, I posted the estimated delivery dates for each region so backers could use that information to update their mailing addresses appropriately when they received the address update notification from Kickstarter a few minutes later. I also linked to that update on our recent e-newsletter.
Yet, I guarantee that in a month or so, I’ll hear from a few backers who will say that they didn’t know when the game was being delivered, resulting in a missed delivery. Specifically, they will say that I didn’t tell them when the game was being delivered, putting the impetus on me to ship them another copy.
Here’s the thing: I’m a backer too. I’ve unsubscribed to the updates of many projects, and I don’t always read the updates I still receive. But that’s my choice. The information is there if I want it. If a reward is sent to the wrong place because I didn’t read an update, that’s my fault. That’s on me as a backer, not on the creator. I take responsibility.
In terms of communication, where do you draw the line between the responsibility of the creator and the backer? Do you feel “punished” if a creator uses a platform you’re not on? Why? Isn’t it your choice not to participate on Facebook?