Monday, February 15, 2010

New Study on Youth and Social Media, and Some Thoughts on How it Affects RPG's and the OSR

Came across this while reading an interesting blog article, wherein Black Diamond Games noted that its blog has become a feeder for its Facebook page. The facebook page gets far more activity.

The study he cites to which supports his personal experience is here:

I've been thinking lately about my own changing RPG-related online reading habits. I used to go to at least 4-5 boards a day just a couple years ago. Now I pretty much go to daily, and maybe once a week I go to Dragonsfoot and ENWorld.

Most of my actual reading and commenting seems to be on blogs these days. I've created a good list of about 300 blogs, and get notified if they are updated.

I have a twitter account, but I use that more to let me know of any big news that people are yapping about.

Anyhow, one of the big data points in the survey is that blogging has dropped significantly among kids and young adults, and has gone up with older adults.

As a business you want to be everywhere your customers are, so you want to be on every medium. As for hobbies though, unless you have a specific goal, you just want to be where fellow hobbyists are. For RPG's, that seems to still be boards and blogs.

Which makes me think there may be even more of a growing disconnect in the ability of the hobby to attract newer younger gamers, unless there is some sort of concerted effort to get a meaningful presence on places like Facebook.

Regarding the OSR, where the style of game due to its simplicity would be a natural attraction to younger gamers, it seems to exist in cyberspace in mediums in which membership of the younger audience is shrinking--namely blogs and boards, not Facebook.

How much does everyone use Facebook for their RPG-related social interactions? Do you use it for some types of interactions but not for others? I used to have in my friends list a ton of RPG industry people, but deleted them because I wasn't that interested in their personal lives, just their gaming thoughts and perspectives, which I didn't get a lot of through Facebook. Does anyone find it useful for RPG-related social interactions or as a forum for an exchange of RPG ideas?

Food for thought...


  1. * Facebook: Virtually zero of my gaming gets posted there. Only big announcements and so forth (release news, reviews, etc.)

  2. Hmmm, I thought I remembered reading somewhere about Facebook also trending to older people now also. I have a facebook account, but my parents use facebook more than I do.
    When I finally gave in and signed up for Facebook, I was surprized how cludgy and unintuitive it seemed. It feels like it was designed in 92. Maybe it was.
    Twitter is so limited, it's self-trivializing. I can't see any use for it.

  3. Facebook is way too clunky for me to ever seriously use for anything, but I think you're right in that kids are addicted to the damn thing, and serious businesses that want to attract the gigantic facebook crowd will open their pages, run contests off them, and generally keep traffic to them. Me, my eyes bleed just looking at Facebook these days.

  4. Either Wyatt and I are old (both in college) or the kind of people we want to be attracting to RPGs are still on blogs and boards. I don't know anyone obsessed with facebook who I'd want to spend several hours a week gaming with. You're really not losing anything worth mourning.

    By the way, you should really consider enabling name/url commenting. I hate having to sign in with the openID nonsense.

  5. I have no interest in interfacing of FB, though I know others have. Depends on what business you are in, too. This is a niche industry, and niche seems to mean that the relevant few seek out the sources; and we are not the wandering hunters who follow the herd, like WotC does. I find the aspect of sharing with those who have sought the commonality of interesting and informed exchange much more conducive to a healthy creative thrust than seeking sameness in FB, which IMO, is way too diffuse a ground for that intimate sharing. Just MO, though, I could be wrong and have been known to be.

  6. I am the CEO of a nonprofit and we use a blog, facebook, and twitter, with facebook updated pretty much everyday. Facebook is good at relationship management and announcements, but not at presenting in-depth information. They each have their uses. The fastest growing segment of Facebook users are women over the age of 55.


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