Monday, May 23, 2022

Wherein I Lament the Loss of G+

While reading a post from the excellent RPG blog "Rise Up Comus," I was struck by the following paragraph from Josh:

having a game based on a my own post is enormously flattering. But beyond that, I love how design in the OSR space is often translatory. That is, one writer creates an idea, two authors iterate on it, a fourth author unifies the disparate iterations, etc. I find that fascinating. My post was a response to another blog post, and Ray Otus carries the torch even further than I did. Wonderful.

And while I own an original art piece from Ray and think he's fantastic, I saw something beyond this simple, yet profound paragraph. This got me thinking about why I miss the old Google+ RPG communities so much. It wasn't just having a listening voice, it was the spontaneous bursts of creativity that blossomed out of the simplest comment. It was really more about collaboration than camaraderie. THAT is what I miss in most social media. G+ had just the right amount of mental creative space to collaborate. Twitter doesn't have the characters to do it. Facebook is much more concerned with the social aspect of gaming, I find (with lots of inside jokes, etc.). Instagram has a similar problem to Twitter in that few people will take the time to read a longer post when there are so many pretty pictures and reels flying around. Mewe devolved into an unregulated morass; at least it did to me. And don't even get me started on TicToc. 

Part of the problem may be too many choices. We're spread too thin to effectively and consistently work together to create synergy on our RPG projects. Divided, we fall.

Blogs probably come the closest to the functional space of G+, but jumping from blog to blog is cumbersome (though, I admit, I kind of enjoy the cumbersome aspect in some ways. It *feels* more analog to me, even though it isn't). For some reason, G+, by it's nature, fostered the action of picking up where someone else left off and running with the ball, so to speak. Many really great RPG materials came out at that time as a result. And while there continue to be great materials coming out, there hasn't been such an outpouring of creative, collaborative spirit since. There was a certain ease of use and fluidity to G+ that I just don't see anywhere else. I also feel like there was a great deal of balkanization that happened when G+ gave up the ghost. In our mad dash to find a substitute, we all sort of ended up scattered into online pockets here and there, a little fearful to reach out again, maybe, for fear of being so disappointed again. That loss took a serious and very real emotional toll on a lot of us.

I feel like conventions are the best places to pick up the pieces and maybe reconstruct something of that feeling of common creative push in person, but we need something else to foster ongoing work like this. 

Or maybe I'm just turning into a bitter old man. 

Please, prove me wrong.


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  1. I was often perplexed at all the knocks that G+ endured from those that 'didn't get it'. It was a great social platform for the RPG hobby. Looking back now, it has some similarities to being a military Veteran. You may not have been connected on the platform, but you were both there experiencing a good time with fellow nerds.

    1. That is a great analogy. Except no one assumed command, necessarily. It felt like an ideal community should feel.

  2. I really miss the spontaneous combustion of g plus. Nothing compares, mostly because we are all over the place

    1. Agreed. It's like there was a diaspora, but no coherence among the "bubble communities" that emerged from it.

  3. Replies
    1. There is discord. I've dabbled, but never really "got into it". What is it you like about how Discord as a means for creative collaboration? Honest question - I'd really like to know what you and others think!

    2. Well it my opinion: depending on the server you get on its great for constant discourse. But, however, I don't think you can save your messages on there, without it becoming a hassle. You can at least pin it. There's also it being easy as heck to use.