Does Your Guild Need Social Media Guidelines?

Does Your Guild Need Social Media Guidelines?

In a word, probably not.

More and more players are finding themselves on Twitter and Facebook. Guild members are adding each other as friends to all these other social networks and their thoughts are then broadcast which expose themselves to even moreplayers. There is always an inherent risk though. Much like the way companies operate, the wrong tweet or message could lead to getting fired or facing a penalty. I’ve witnessed cases where WoW guilds did very much the same thing.

One disgruntled player said something damning and they were pretty much run out of the guild.

With something like 10+ members of Conquest on Twitter, I keep an eye on it as much as I can. I prefer to address problems privately and directly. I don’t want to find out about issues via someone’s blog or their stream. At the same time, I recognize the need to vent frustration. It’s a fairly fine line to walk between presenting the best image for the guild and allowing people to just be people. I’ve written out a set of guidelines just to remind players who do blog and use social media to keep this stuff in mind before they start blasting stuff openly.

Recruiting is hard

Again, it’s partially about image control. Smart and tech savvy players might uncover blogs or tweets from individuals talking about a guild that they want to join. I’ve spoken with players before in the past who stated that while they expressed interest in joining Conquest, scouring the twitter list of players gave them pause because some of their thoughts about the guild was upsetting. The truth of that is going to vary. My point is that social media stuff has direct impact on the recruiting efforts of guilds. So if you’re sitting there complaining about how raiding has sucked because no one’s applied and people are getting restless and no one’s showing up or applying to the guild, how do you think that’s going to look to potential applicants? No one’s going to put in an application to a guild that looks like its on the verge of collapse. Granted, that guild might have a motivated GM trying to rebuild and put things back together. But tweets and blog posts that reflect negatively could hamper their efforts.

The Public Drama

Things like loot drama or so forth should be kept internal.

Now, I toe an extremely fine line when I write about players past and present. Years ago when Syd was still with me she and I had a philosophical disagreement. She felt that publically recognizing players was a good thing. I disagreed because there was a potential chance it could lead to elements of dissatisfaction from other players who felt snubbed at not being given the same treatment. From the GM perspective, I wanted to avoid the potential headaches that it would cause. I have no qualms when it comes to writing about certain situations, but I’ll go out of way to obscure select details. When it comes to blogging, I do it to help educate not to vindicate. I’m not one to hold grudges. But not every blogger out there shares that sentiment. Some use it to write about their thoughts without regards to the ramifications of what they’re saying.

At the end of the day, if any player gets to the point where they’re extremely unhappy about their situation within the guild, that’s something the GM need to address. Every solution needs to be considered even if it means dismissal. Sometimes a change of scenery is needed. If it were me, if I was tweeting and blogging about how upsetting my guild was to me, I’d take a step back and wonder what the heck I’m doing in here in the first place.

Another reason? Can you imagine getting into a public mudslinging fight? I would much rather have a conversation in private detailing a player’s shortcomings. If a player decides to take things public, then I can either walk away and take the hits or come back and publically rebuke them. For example, if I had a player who was particularly venemous and wrote a blog post about why they felt they should have gotten this item instead of that other player, that loot council sucked and that it wasn’t fair and so forth and I noticed that the post generated some number of comments, I feel obliged to reply to explain our stance.

So I might have to come back with reasons like this:

  • No actually your DPS wasn’t that high. You got out DPS’d by players who were under geared and who were doing specific things (like dispelling or doing gongs).
  • You’ve been missing the past 4 raids or have left early.
  • I’ve blown 10 battle res’s on you in the past 15 bosses. That’s 10 too many.

I don’t like embarrassing players in public and I’m thankful it’s never gotten to that situation. But I knew I wanted to create a reference for players who used social media.

I think there are many GMs out there who aren’t quite adept when it comes to things like public relations or damage control. They often want to take the easiest solution and run with that. Sometimes the easiest and fastest solution is to kick out the troublemaker without even trying to establish a conversation.

Note that I didn’t say it was the best. I just said it was the easiest and fastest.

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Drafting the guidelines

It’d be stupid and fruitless of me to try to discourage players from using Twitter or from blogging. I can’t control that. At the same time, when I came up with the guidelines I wanted to ensure that the team had an idea of what was cool and what would give me headaches. I don’t like getting headaches. I get headaches from healing raids and figuring out how to tackle certain bosses. Those are good, acceptable headaches. I don’t want unnecessary headaches. They’re a waste of time.

When harnessed correctly, social media can be a strong asset for any guild. I’ve managed to recruit players, drive up interest and gain some raiding insight from players who use it. Its a neat way to meet new players and get a handle on different personalities.

When I came up with the guidelines, I approached it from the angle of encouraging players to think about their experience and how they wanted it presented to their followers. Keep things light yet professional. It was also a reminder to them that the leaders and I would always be available if there was something truly troubling them. Unless they seal and privatize their accounts, they would always represent the guild in everything they say or do.

In the end, like it or not, everything said online has an impact on the relationships around you whether you intend to or not.

I went through several drafts and revisions before I settled on this iteration of it.

Conquest Social Media Guidelines

These are the suggested guidelines for the use of social media at Conquest. Conquest members are encouraged to create, contribute, or comment on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, forums, online games, or any other kind of social media both on and off Conquest. If you do, you are kindly asked to understand and follow these guidelines.

We’re not here to censor you.

Principles

If you participate in social media, follow these guiding principles:

  • Understand and follow the Conquest Code of Conduct
  • Try to keep remarks meaningful and respectful—do not post spam, offensive or derogatory comments
  • Take a moment and think before posting
  • Respect confidentiality whether it’s guild related or otherwise
  • When you’re disagreeing with the opinions of other players, keep it appropriate and polite

Guidelines to Keep in Mind

Openness – If you are blogging or tweeting about your adventures and efforts in Conquest, don’t be afraid to disclose it. You are free to write and launch creative projects at your discretion. Projects like Redhawks’ Gaze and the LeetSauced podcastare maintained by the very same players who are a part of the guild and I have no intention of trying to restrict their creativity. Feel free to approach Matt for advice or assistance.

CommunicateProblems First – Conquest is a transparent guild. I don’t have a problem allowing players to vent. However, if you experience any severe problems with the guild or its leadership, you’re asked to approach the leaders first to see if a resolution to the problem can be found before taking it public.

Try to Stick to Your Expertise– I write about healing and raiding. I wouldn’t dream of advising a Mage on things like their rotation or stat weights. Don’t intentionally mislead players who may approach you for advice. If you’re not sure, do refer them to other players in the guild or other resources on the internet.

Your Words Have Effects– By saying you are a member of Conquest, every tweet, post and comment you make indirectly reflects upon the guild as a whole. This can have a severe effect when it comes to things like recruiting new members to when securing guild partnerships/sponsorships in the future.

Be Conversational– Have some fun interacting with your readers and followers. You don’t have to be mechanical and personality-less all the time. There are many interesting players out there. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them.

Accountability- What you write is ultimately up to you. I can’t restrict your speech. Being a part of social media as a member of Conquest reflects upon the guild, so treat it well. Follow the terms and conditions for other communities you are a part of.

The Grandma Rule- If you’re about to publish something that doesn’t feel right, think about whether or not you should post it. If your grandma or parents saw this, would you be embarrassed or worried? If the answer is yes, you may want to consider modifying or refraining from publishing altogether.

The Internet is Forever– Stuff that you put out there can be saved. When you publish information, any efforts to destroy it or render it anonymous might work. It also might not. If you’re not prepared to have something published for all eternity, re-work it or reconsider it.

This is your guild – If being a part of the guild gets to the point where the direction is severely upsetting to you causing you to start publically blasting players and its leaders, you may wish to reconsider your status within the guild. I have no intention of trying to keep players who have absolutely lost their desire to remain in the guild. I want players to be happy, irrespective of what guild they belong to.

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

Epic Guest Posting Guidelines for the Matticus

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Would the World of Matticus ever feature a guest post from you?

In a word, yes. The first thing you have to remember is that in the World of Matticus, there is but one god: Matticus himself. Guest posts usually happen when I put the word out that I needs help.

In the past year, I’ve opened up guest posting to bloggers and writers that were interested in getting their feet wet. Today, I’m officially announcing the green light for open guests posts as well as setting down guidelines and suggests for writing them. Here’s a few examples for you to consider.

While I admit that my standards are high, I’m not asking you to solo Illidan or do heroic Occulus. What I do want is to illustrate reasons and qualities for a World of Matticus guest post.

Why write a guest post?

Exposure - By writing compelling articles, stories or posts in general on other blogs (not just mine, mind you), you increase your own visibility and exposure. View it as a chance to promote yourself and your work! Now you be thinking to yourself "why write on someone else’s blog when I can augment my own?" I encourage you to think in a different direction. By writing an insanely awesome blog post for another blogger and having it published, that blogger’s audience will want to know more about you and what else you have to offer.

Trial – Not sure if blogging is the right thing for you? At the very fundamental core of blogging is to communicate. You are translating your ideas and visions from your mind onto the screen. Don’t spend time establishing a blog only to discover that writing is difficult for you or that your interest has waned. Do the writing first then build the blog. Try writing a sample post and determine if it’s something you think you’ll enjoy down the road. Web sites come in all sorts of designs and styles. The one thing that all blogs have in common is the display of information.

You’ve decided to write a guest post? Excellent! Here’s a few things you might wish to consider:

Consider the audience

In the beginning, this blog catered towards Holy Priests. As time went on, it slowly included aspects for the raiding Holy Priest. Guild business and leadership was mixed into the blog. A Resto Druid was added. Now it includes material that Guild leaders would be interested in reading.

The majority of readers on World of Matticus are primarily healers, raiders, and bloggers. That’s a pretty wide sphere of influence, if I do say so myself. Keep the audience in mind when you’re writing a post. For example, most healers may not understand certain tanking concepts and you may wish to elaborate more on terms that you’ll be using.

If you’re writing about the nature of Hunters, PvP skills for Warriors, or the latest fashion news on Death Knights, you’ll want to consider another blog unless you can make it relevant for the World of Matticus readers.

What makes this blog appealing for you? Chances are, your answer will be the same as the other many thousands of readers. Browse through the archives to find some of your favourite posts and you’ll get a handle for what works and what doesn’t.

Matticus is beneficial

The one thing I stress most from the team here is to make your information useful. Give the reader something to take with them when they finish.

How does a Discipline Priest react in this raid situation? Did your GM handle a particularly difficult problem in a smooth fashion? Topics like that would be right up the alley in the World of Matticus.

Content in the World of Matticus should help answer problems that players find in the World of Warcraft.

Matticus is professional

I don’t care if you’re on the top 5v5 team in the world, or the best ranked Ret Paladin on WWS. I’m not expecting you to be Dan Brown either.

Sydera, Wynthea and I are really picky. Syd’s a teacher (not high school, but the best one can professionally be). Wyn usually shreds my posts because they’re not technically correct or sound. I harp on the other two if their posts do not look good.

Keep the post as clean looking as possible. White space is good. If necessary, format the post and add images to help spice and liven it up more.

Check your tone. Have a unique style. Make sure what you write can be understood. This isn’t a journal or a computer operations manual. Be clear, be concise. Add some personality. Don’t be afraid to write as if you’re speaking. Be interesting and humorous. Feel free to tell a story to get your point across.

Most importantly, spend as much time on thinking of a title as you do on your post. No other WoW blogger puts as much thought, time or emphasis into post titles as Matticus.

Spell check it.

Fact check it. If you’re not sure about spells or abilities, use WoWHead.

Not all of us are blogging gods by any means (but that Matticus comes close). We’re not the best. We’re only human. Typos will creep in or lawn gnomes will occasionally break a few things. All of us invest a lot of time and care into making our post the best as possible.

Some guest bloggers in the past have been rejected and told to rewrite. Go through multiple drafts. Ask someone in your guild to look it over. World of Matticus does not involve writers who write drafts then immediately publish them. Posts will stew around for days or even weeks if they do’t feel right until a “Eureka” moment strikes.

Sounds great! How do I sign up?

Drop me a line on my contact form. You can include a post within the body of the form there or get in touch with me first and float an idea my way to see how it sounds. I’ll respond with a confirmation and a giant thank you! If I don’t respond within a week, I must’ve not received it or I completely forgot about it. Feel free to poke me with a gentle reminder!

If you have a blog, it’s a good idea to link to your best blog posts. Note that it’s not required that you have a blog.

Image courtesy of Cierpki