Comments Off on The Rant about Social Networks
By request. I posted this on Twitter originally; it’s been reassembled here.
This is why I haven’t done anything with my gathering-and-exploring-only character for years; reported for botting once, because someone didn’t bother to try to talk to me – they just saw me running around a zone gathering nodes and assumed. So that character is level 42 and will never go any higher. Stuck as an AH mule. What else can I do?
“But if we let people know what botters look like, botters can correct for it!” Yeah, but at this point you’re making it clear that people aren’t allowed to get attached to the characters they’ve put a full decade of work into. You don’t get to celebrate a decade of your players’ loyalty at the same time you’re throwing them out without stated cause.
My sub runs out in September, and at this point, I think I’m going to let it lapse. Blizzard CS does nothing to inspire confidence that I won’t get screwed by a false report and banned. And there go ten years of boxes and subscriptions, with no appeal.
I have lost my patience. Blizzard CS, you are fucking up. Players are your lifeblood. Treat them with at least the tiniest bit of respect. “We don’t have to care about you. There are eight million people just like you.” How long do you expect that to work? Here’s a hint: very, very few of your players play your massively-multiplayer game solo.
Businesses have figured out that “the internet is social” but haven’t actually figured out what that means. On the one hand, it means that your customers – whether that’s “someone who signed up” or “someone who paid us” – are connected tightly. On the other hand, it means that none of the businesses in the game have figured out that means people are creating social networks. Not “Social Networks”, as in “Twitter is a Social Network”, but social networks, as in “I have my own personal social network”.
And that means that when a Business decides to remove a user, they are not only cutting that user off from their capital Social Network, but from their lowercase – and WAY more important – social network. A business removing a user means that user is cut off. Period.
Sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes a user’s social network is just a group of fellow assholes with similar interests. Sometimes it’s a group of people who are connected on every platform, and losing one platform means they just congregate on the next.
But sometimes the social network is important. Sometimes that’s what you have. All you have. And cutting someone off from that without even so much as an explanation does damage. Not even “this is what you did wrong”. Just “nope, you’re gone”.
That doesn’t feel like “I broke the rules and I’m doing the time”. That feels like “this business hates me and I can’t talk to my friends”. Actually, even worse than “this business hates me” – “this business is completely indifferent to me. I have made an emotional investment in this business and they could not possibly care less about that.”
Users have a choice of platforms. Businesses cannot get away with not caring whether or not a user chooses them anymore. Like oathblade just said, we play WOW for the nostalgia – but not at all because we have any illusions that we matter to Blizzard. And sooner or later, nostalgia just isn’t going to be good enough anymore. Neither is speed (Twitter). Neither is family (Facebook). Et cetera.
If you’re running a social business, you have to actually invest in your customers. That means supporting and communicating with them – and not just fuckin’ around and assuming there will be more customers if those guys you didn’t give a flying fuck about leave.