I chose gaming as my theme for my web presence, since it has been an interest of mine on the internet since about 2006. Gaming for me is a great way to meet new people from anywhere in the world and be connected by a mutual interest. Gaming also inspires creation; not only consuming the media but changing it through interaction, and adding depth through fan-related material like art, videos, musical parodies, stories and lore, guides, wikis, forums and websites. And the fantastic part is most game companies do not mind this growth and adaption of their creation; many encourage and display great creations by fans, like World of Warcraft’s and Runescape’s fanart sections and Machinima competitions. Therefore, although content is still copyrighted, the ability to be creative with few restrictions makes for good design patterns (O’Reilly, 2005).
My web presence shows off my identity as a gamer, and hopefully portrays a lot about my sense of imagination. The name I eventually settled on uses the female symbol rather than the word, and decided against using my full name. I’ve toyed with and explored a few tools for this presence, but settled on YouTube, Twitter and Flickr as the main nodes.
I’ve chosen to use WordPress as my central node, as a blog seemed like a great way to convey gaming activities, updates, feature videos, pictures or content etc. Blogs allow other bloggers or readers to post comments, links and forge connections to other blogs; they’re also easily integrated with other web tools, and especially with other users of those tools (Rettberg, 2008). The ability for viewers to interact with the site through comments or connections is important for a 2.0 tool, and encourages visitors to stay longer and return to see how their comments were received (Joergensen & Blythe, 2003), and this also applies to any tool which can receive comments or input. Plus, because games are constantly changing, static pages would be outdated quickly, so with a blog it’s possible to have a timeline of gaming experiences. The “Piano Black” theme looked to me to be nice and neat, plus the dark texture suited my theme that is based around my WoW character which is a cat. This theme extends to all my nodes. The tabs at the top allow easy navigation, which is important for sustaining user traffic and makes the site more pleasant to navigate (Joergensen & Blythe, 2003), and widgets at the side add a nice functionality which is important when integrating other web tools together. Plus the creation tools are very simple and user friendly. Although the lack of editing in html does limit creativity, it’s great to have that instant consistency and functionality that this tool gives.
The nodes I’ve chosen in addition to my blog are all heavily focused on displaying game activities, achievements, guides and general gameplay. Since games are a highly visual and community experience, Flickr and YouTube fit nicely, each showing aspects of the game play experience. Static screenshots too, add a more personal dimension than YouTube I feel as they capture a moment rather than a series of moments, and are much more easily displayed and arranged. Twitter has been the glue at tying everything together.
Flickr seemed an obvious tool for a game related presence. Screenshots and fan-art are an important part of gaming communities, and Flickr offers a simple and integrative way to upload, share and tag images. Not only does the widget for Flickr fit in nicely to the WordPress layout and theme, allowing thumbnails of recently uploaded pictures, I have also created slideshows which I found very nice for organizing game related screenshots. Tagging allows me to tag events and usernames which can be useful for anyone else searching for those tags. Pictures are also a simple but effective way of portraying a theme.
YouTube became my second node. At first I was drawn to grooveshark and compiled a playlist of my favourite wow parodies, but after watching some of them on YouTube, it was obvious that there’s just so much more that can be done on YouTube. Each song has a video along with it, which demonstrates the creativity and interaction with the game itself in the way the video is presented. Since I’m not much of a music composer, it was far easier to make my own content for YouTube. I experimented and made 2 very basic videos for this YouTube node, and it enabled me to integrate some comedy in my presence too. I was able to favourite and create playlists of my favourite videos, and show them on my user page. It’s also very easy to integrate YouTube into my blog, with links and video embedding. YouTube is very important for a similar reason to Flickr; it communicates your thoughts and experiences to other people, and enables other people to comment or build on your material if they wish. These qualities are integral to web2.0 tools, by allowing users to interact with the media they view, and encourages creativity.
Finally, Twitter became my third node. I was very sceptical of Twitter in the past, dismissing it as an exhibitionist or stalker tool. However, upon using it I was very impressed with its compatibility and integration. As I mentioned before, it is the glue that ties everything together. I was able to connect all my nodes and main presence to Twitter, which can announce every activity from any of my nodes. What I wasn’t able to connect to it directly, I was able to use a site called twitterfeed.com which enabled me to manually connect any feed to it. In this context, rather than using it as updates about what I had for breakfast or comments on the traffic, I can use it to update when I add new content to connected nodes, and follow similar updates from “tweets” from whom I’m following, which allows me to synchronise platforms and keep them up-to-date (Helmond, 2010). The simplicity of twitter “tweets” makes it invaluable for getting information you’re interested in quickly. I’ve also been using it as a feed to report my gaming experiences, as currently linking to character feeds on WoW is beyond my expertise.
I have found this experience to be very enjoyable, and the utilisation of my nodes and blog has portrayed my online identity and theme for my presence. These web2.0 tools have been easy to use and function well as many-to-many mediums.
Helmond, A. (2010). Identity 2.0: Constructing identity with cultural software. Retrieved May, 18, 2011.
Joergensen, J. L., & Blythe, J. (2003). A guide to a more effective World Wide Web presence. [Article]. Journal of Marketing Communications, 9(1), 45.
O’Reilly, T. (2005). What Is Web 2.0 Retrieved 20 June 2012, from http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=2
Rettberg, J. W. (2008). Blogs, Communities and Networks Blogging. Cambridge: Polity Press.