I’ve been using Twitter a lot lately. Whether it be chuckling at the banter-fuelled conversations between Piers Morgan and Alan Sugar or shamelessly retweeting one liners that Will Farrell never ceases to stop producing; I always have a reason to continue visiting the lead website in social networking. In an oddly similar fashion Reddit has also sealed its position on my Chrome bookmark tab as a way of reading about spooky conspiracy theories and finding out about alternate endings to my favourite film fiascos. On the flip side however, I’ve slowly began to realise that both are fantastic tools that can be used to extract information directly from the source. Sure my primary use of the websites is to ensure I get my daily dose of cheap laughs but realistically their main function was to always act as a way of getting the entirety of the world’s news in one swift click.
Now, until recent times I have never paid too much attention to the usefulness of Twitter/Reddit or any other social media domains in fact and specifically with regards to what their role was in eSports. This was until Alexander “Carni” H. Sheddon enlightened a few stragglers with his piece on ESL in which he brought up his views of how we currently publish news in e-sports and whether or not it’s going to make the cut as social media slowly overtakes the way we retract information.
Although originally a live show, here is the source of the discussion - http://en.esl.tv/schedule/374/
Carni in his ESL Focus – Weekly mentioned the following which credited how esports related websites traditionally went about publishing news way before the sport had ever really developed:
“Websites that report about eSports have existed long before the word eSport even existed. For a long time these sites, owned by several private owners, were the only way of finding out about new developments within the scene.”
I totally agree, Alex is right on how news revolving around gaming tournaments existed right up until the early days but I must add it was in a way that is different yet somewhat similar to now. The majority of websites providing news were primarily owned by organizations with teams heavily involved in the game that they were covering. Likewise today we see Tek-9.org, once the world’s best Call of Duty team, being the lead in Call of Duty coverage, with other examples such as Cadred.org and Team Liquid following suit. However, in a shift of focus we have seen various websites, such as the all but deceased GotFrag and SK-Gaming, attempt to steer away from this one-game-one-website format in an attempt to localize all information to one domain.
From here his argument then went on to question as to whether or not the traditional way of publishing news had a place in the future of esports as we enter an age where social media provides a more simpler form of withdrawing information:
“Nowadays, with the use of Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and social media, there are many other resources that you can use to get this information. A lot of ambitious eSports press projects have come and gone over the last couple of years and little have actually managed to stay around. Does this classic form of information-resourcing have any sort of future with the coming of the Web 2.0? Or does this gap get filled by social media channels, streams and VoDs”
Here is where I get a little stuck. On one side I had the euphoric urge to neutralize his statements on the removal of eSports news sites but on the other I had little to no substance to work with. Upsettingly I understand that Twitter and Facebook allows for the individual to reach his/her own player base in a fashion that was direct and to the point whilst also acknowledging Reddits role of covering the whole forum and discussion side of the theatrical. With all this staring me in the face, I still felt that this format would never work sole handily. After a brief discussion with some close friends I came to a conclusion that although the majority of ancient techniques were slowly becoming obsolete, there was still room for the old fashioned journalist and his ball point pen.
Firstly, I had always believed that in a sport which was really riding the wave of consistent technologic development that old fashioned television, governed too by the more withered generation, was never suited as eSports' main visual platform. The more appropriate option was streaming which was always going to succeed considering the majority of the games those individuals play could also be watched on the same device. In plain simple, it made logical sense to have both the entertainment segment of the sport and the sport itself on the same platform. With VODs and streaming out of the way, I thought of diving in on his point about press projects in general and quite frankly, if they were needed in today’s world.
It is too my understanding that the general forms of presenting news through separate domains and then dissected into columns, articles and posts should stand. It should remain not on the basis that I can’t bear the thought of losing my beloved traditional form of e-newspaper, but because what else would we have to compare it to? Social media is a tool so accessible that it grants the inexperienced the tools to reach out to millions without having the appropriate knowledge to do so. It’s a scary concept to grasp that twenty years ago only a select few had the ability to publish news to the masses in comparison to now where we are within a transition in which all information can be published and read by anybody as well as everybody. This to an extent is a technologic advancement to which has caused our own deficit and is a change that has also breached the walls of eSports. This, plus the fact that having different means of presenting news, whether it be a quick tweet by TLR's Chefinal mentioning they’re back bigger than ever or our very own Rickeh delving into Goldfish Syndrome #2, allows for a more diverse way of absorbing information in a situation which could be marginally biased. It’s a way for shutting down the hopefuls in a false story whilst also allowing for news, and more importantly the research behind it, to develop and get more precise and informative.
In turn, due to the scattered nature of social networking sites there is a need to localize all of this information with regards to a specific subject (in our case eSports) to one location. In a realistic world where both are going to exist regardless of this beloved Cadred article, I feel that although posting news and sharing information can be done over social networking sites, it is so inefficient that it would be more productive to localize it to one domain and use the power of social networking to spread the word of that one website as opposed to that one particular piece of written information. The advantages are that with websites such as SK-Gaming and the sadly forgotten Gotfrag, you are able to browse news you found out through the easily accessibly Twitter or Reddit, whilst also having the availability of browsing through similar articles or forum discussions related to a users interest. To sum it up, social networking whilst making access easy for everyone, doesn’t however hit the nail on the head with regards to finding similar material.
So for sceptics like myself at one point, whom are unsure whether or not the traditional platform of recreationally receiving information is worth pursuing due to the oncoming social networking boom, I urge for you to remember the initial definition of the word networking itself. With accessibility being at the forefront of its ingenuity I think that for newly starting news sites to flourish it must use the tool to its full potential whilst not expressing too much through it as a way to consider the tool as a replacement for the publishing site itself.
|Tom Newman // D1ablo|
Posted 10 months ago: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 10:48:27 +0100
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