Earlier this week, Elon Musk followed up on his promise to acquire Twitter, where the social media company announced the acceptance of Musk’s $ 44 billion offer.
By most goals, Twitter is not the most popular social media. Metrics often have Twitter that follows other social platforms like Facebook and Instagram by significant margins. That said, Twitter has become an integrated platform in the gaming industry, as both individual game developers and companies use the platform extensively to promote their work, their games, or share any thoughts they deem appropriate to tweet.
“Twitter is generally a great networking tool for developers – trending hashtags, asking for advice, the ability to retweet work or portfolios, and just randomly responding to tweets has helped many people get in touch with each other,” says Victoria Tran Community Director for Inner Sloth, the developers of Among Us.
Twitter is easily accessible to developers and instantly connects them with their players, content creators and journalists, Tran says. And for businesses, there are benefits to Twitter that are not found on competing platforms.
“Twitter also has a relatively low boost in terms of producing content – it focuses on words, while other platforms like Instagram and TikTok require more work with images or video,” adds Tran. “It’s a faster way to connect, and unlike Facebook, you don’t necessarily have to ask friends to chat with them,” though this last part obviously comes with its own issues.
But for the most part, game developers from India are finding AAA value in Twitter’s approach to social networking. Two AAA game developers, currently employed in major studios and wishing to remain anonymous, said they got some of their first major jobs in the gaming industry via Twitter
But the news of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has caused a flurry of reactions across Twitter’s most prominent users, including those working in the video game industry. Musk, best known as the founder of electric car company Tesla, is himself a prominent Twitter user who takes to his account to post musings about his many businesses, unsolicited advice on public transportation and sometimes memes. Can this person change Twitter, and if so, what will happen?
Musk describes himself as an “absolute freedom of speech” and has tweeted ideas about what he would like to see changed by Twitter in the past. Musk has repeatedly talked about the virtues of “freedom of speech” and has called Twitter a “digital urban square”, including in his statement after the acquisition.
One area Musk could expand this idea is by loosening the rules around what users may and may not tweet. In addition to illegal content, Musk recently said at a TED conference that he would allow “gray zone” tweets to exist that could license harassment and trolls.
This is the most worrying option after the Musk acquisition for professionals who run Twitter accounts for some of the largest video game companies.
A Social Media Professional at a North American AAA studio tells IGN: “We can already see a very cautious response from the Twitter user base, especially among those who are victims or witnesses of harassment and abuse on the platform.”
The employee, who wished to remain anonymous as their company has not yet issued an official statement, adds that from a professional point of view, any relaxation of standards could lead to a loss of audience.
“We spent months and years cultivating our audience on this platform, we are very concerned that they might choose to leave it in fear of even more abuse with the excuse of ‘freedom of speech’. The same goes for brands as it It is still unclear what some of these features would mean for content moderation and reporting, which is already a problem today. ”
Musk’s rhetoric has intimidated social media professionals, who are already struggling with changing algorithms and changing trends on a daily basis. Although Twitter is not perfect, the Musk acquisition threatens to bring people who work with social media on a daily basis into unknown waters.
“Twitter has been the go-to platform for video game developers and publishers for a long time now, and its ease of use and accessible audiences made this platform important to trust,” said Colin Cummings, who runs Social Media and Community for Evolve PR. “If something disrupts this or makes it worse, then my role as community and social media manager has just become more important.”
To be clear, Musk’s takeover of Twitter has not yet been completed, and it is unclear exactly what changes will come to the service. So far, Musk has only promised to improve Twitter with new features, including making the algorithm open source, defeating spambots and “approving all people.”
But for professionals who use Twitter for work, the concern is that there are simply no viable alternatives to Twitter available right now. “There’s no perfect replacement for Twitter, and we’ll have to work extra hard to build our audience, curate a community, and establish our core communications as blog posts or newsletters,” Cummings said.
The concern is that “the gaming community, which has been centralized on Twitter, will crack and spiral away to a dozen different sites.”
“He bought Twitter for a lot of money and I feel it’s naive to say that nothing will change. We just have to hope it gets better or just a move on the side.”
For others, social media is at first such a chaotic field that Musk’s takeover of Twitter is merely the latest sea change affecting an important job that the uninformed believe is being done by interns.
“Social media comes and goes,” Tran says. “Facebook was the place to be, now its organic reach is almost gone. TikTok is the hot new thing. Wines are dead. Just another billion-dollar company – or person, in this case – it pops out while everyone else is thrown into the waves. Just another Monday. “
MattTM Kim is IGN’s news editor. You can reach him @laloftd.