Follow @TheGameshelf on Twitter

A few days ago I finally activated the long-dormant @TheGameshelf Twitter account, setting it up with Twitterfeed so that it automatically tweets links to new Gameshelf stories. If you love Twitter and you dig this blog too, do consider giving it a follow. [1]

[ The remainder of this post sinks into blogging-philosophy ruminations. Feel free to skip, or read the rest and play spot the tenuous connection the author draws to games. ]

I found motivation in an excellent article I read elsewhere in blog-land recently, an observation on how following seems to be eclipsing subscribing as the most salient verb for plugging oneself into a favored web-based information source. (I foolishly failed to bookmark the story; if this rings a bell to anyone, drop a note and I’ll link with gratitude.)

This notion complemented a worry I’ve long held that RSS and similar tech is just one step too nerdy for most people; plugging a subscription URL into a separate feed reader application (be it a desktop app or Google Reader) is fine for the technically oriented, but I can’t imagine a normal person hitting a “Subscribe” link, seeing a FeedBurner page that presents a bunch of weird, ugly buttons and the instruction to “click your choice”, and then doing anything else except quietly closing the browser window. A Twitter link, at least, provides clear instructions on how to follow up: Press this single, giant, sparkly button to permanently follow this feed! OK, done!

(Facebook’s fall-down simple Like! button on the page itself is simpler still. But I don’t like Facebook, and so have no current plans to adopt this button.)

Naturally, I love our technically oriented readers — and I’m not blind to the reality that a blog about games is going to have an audience that skews nerdy. But that doesn’t mean I wish to limit access to the nerds alone, and as we chew deeper into blogging’s second decade, I find it increasingly hard to deny that social networks have become a critical support for any online publication that wishes to attract a readership wider than those who know how OpenID works.

Why, yes, this does remind me of my feelings about browser-based interactive fiction, versus the old style of making the player go hunt down an interpreter before they can play your game. (See what I did there?)

[1] Not to be confused with @GameShelf, the twitter account of a game shop in Ontario.)

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