Today I am going to be writing something a quite personal really. Its been a little over 6 months since January 2019, when I announced my intentions to move back towards video games and general “nerdy” content and away from pure tabletop stuff. But I have been asked a few times, especially recently with my twitter account having a bunch of “Under Construction” stuff plastered over it as to WHAT is going on.
It all has to do with the concept of Support, and what that term really means. Strap yourselves in because this is a long one as I am going to explain both what Supporting someone REALLY means, and my own trials with this concept / my journey.
Support is a verb. It is an action. It is something you DO. It is not a passive activity.
In order to support someone, you have to give something up. Either your time, your energy, or your money. You have to give of yourself to another to support them. Thats why, for example, you support your friends when you listen to their trouble. You support ME when you read this or watch my videos.
And I was not getting much support at all from the Tabletop Twitter DND community over the past near 3 years of doing Terminally Nerdy. I had a lot of people SAY they supported me, that they wanted me to succeed, that they hoped I was growing and getting more reach. But very few have actually SHOWN me that support. What they were actually doing was encouraging me, but not actually helping to support me.
Now, I want to be clear that NO ONE owes me a damn thing. I write and make things because (now at least) I enjoy it. And I do have the goal of eventually doing this for a living. I would love to be able to spend 100% of my time writing reviews, playing indie games, streaming, and the like for people out there who find me enjoyable. I know they exist too. I got 88 people who pay me every month right now for the things I do. I got people who show up to my streams, I got people who like/share/retweet my stuff on twitter. I know who my SUPPORTERS are right now.
So if you are reading this? If you are a Patron? If you watch my youtube videos or visit my site randomly to see what I have done thats new or you watch me on twitch? You are a SUPPORTER. You are giving up your time OR your money to help me in exchange for the things I do. And I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.
But my issue has always been, and continues to be, those who will tell me to my face “I support you Nerdy” yet never actually read anything I write. Who never share my tweets or my videos or my streams. Who never watch my videos or my streams. And there are a LOT of them. And if I sound a bit bitter, well yea I am a bit bitter. I don’t enjoy having someone lie to my face. I especially don’t enjoy it when people tell me I got 8000 followers so clearly I am popular and people consume my content.
Wanna know how many hits from twitter I get on this website on a day when I advertise a post? Truthfully? Its 4-6 hits. On a good day I get near 10. Wanna know how many I get just from Google Search? about 350-400 a day.
You can kinda see the difference.
Now, some maybe just want to be encouraging, to do the least amount possible. Thats fine. But in the same time it takes someone tell me (or anyone) that they support me they could also just…share something of mine. Retweet something of mine. LIke something of mine. You have to DO SOMETHING to support someone else.
Hitting the follow button on social media or twitch or youtube is not supporting them. You have to spend time or energy or money to do so. Twitch doesnt care how many followers you have. Twitch cares how many VIEWERS you have. Youtube doesnt care how many Subscribers you have. Youtube cares how much WATCH TIME and VIEWS you have. Twitter doesnt care how many followers I have, it cares how many people interact with my tweets.
These places care about ACTION not Passivity.
Ok now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you a story.
I started Terminally Nerdy in August of 2016. That is when the first Vlog was posted to Youtube. The original idea was to post videos on Nerdy stuff that I love: Video games, Music, Books, and yes Tabletop. Then I created a 5 part video series in a single night titled “Tabletop RPG 101” and suddenly I had people telling me how great I was at Tabletop, and how I should do stuff JUST on that. At the time, nearly 3 years ago now, I had a lot lower self esteem and was a bit of a people pleaser. I wanted people to accept me and like me. And I thought that if I gave the people what THEY wanted, they would watch my stuff and accept me. That unfortunately did not happen.
Part of that was, prior to getting over the 1k Follower mark on twitter, I was very bad with self deprecation. I would tell people NOT to share my stuff. That stopped after about 6 months, but some folks just never got past that (and a few STILL ARE NOT PAST THAT). Additionally, up until December 2018, I would retweet a lot of other creators. This had the side effect of making my own stuff harder to find, but I believed (and I still do believe) that a rising tide would lift everyone up, that if I put into practice what I HOPED others would do for me, then eventually Karma would come back around and I would get back what I had been giving out. That also has not happened.
In fact, those actions on my part quickly gave me a reputation that persists to this day that I am not a content creator, but am in fact a promoter. I am the guy who you go to find other cool stuff, but not the guy who MAKES cool stuff. My biggest audience IS twitter, and people follow me there not for what I make, but for what others make that I will SHOW them. I have run numerous polls, talked to people, ect and the same thing I keep getting back is “I had no idea you created stuff” or “I am just here for your tweets I dont care about the rest”.
The twitter community has been supportive of me at times. Its their donations that are sending me to Gen Con, for example. But its always been the same 100-200 people. A core group who actually SUPPORTS me. I appreciate each and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, past or present or future, by the way.
A turning point for me in this entire saga was Novermber / December 2018. I was depressed, as I often get during the Holidays, and finally spilled out my feelings regarding the lack of actual support I had been getting overall, and how my reputation had gone to being a Promotions Guy and how I wanted to change it.
What I got back was people telling me to maybe just give up creating and just be a promoter. I also got people telling me I HAD to be the Promoter because eveyrone NEEDED me to be one so I should just embrace that. Prior to this I had a few people refer to me as the DND Town Crier no less, and had been getting more and more Direct Messages and Emails on twitter asking me to just promote peoples products / kickstarters / ect.
I took the entire month of December 2018 off from everything. No creating, no advertising, no twitter. I vanished for a month from all but my Patrons. They got a front row seat to my issues as well, and many of them have stuck it out.
And I want to tell you right here and now, in December 2018…I almost gave up. I almost quit because of this. I was tired of fighting what felt like a losing battle. I had felt that I had damaged my own public perception so badly that there was no fixing it.
However, it was talking to my friends Virus and Saev and my Patrons, that I came to a decision. I wasnt going to quit, oh no. I was going to create what I wanted to create. I was going to make the things I wanted to make. I was going to go back to what Terminally Nerdy SHOULD be and was always meant to be. And in January I started doing that. More video game related media, book reviews, a bit of tabletop when the mood struck me but otherwise more general nerditry. Terminally Nerdy would become what it was always meant to be 3 years ago.
Since January twitter support has mostly gotten worse, which I anticipated. I am essentially starting over, rebuilding an audience who enjoys video games and general nerdy stuff rather then just a specialist audience who wants only one thing – 5th Edition DND. I have lost some patrons (again, expected) because I am no longer doing nothing but tabletop.
But the people who have truly supported me continue, for the most part, to do so.
And I am getting new ones, who like the things I am doing now.
I am working to change how people view me, and how I am treated. Its a hard road, a long road, and I made a ton of mistakes getting here. The issues I have faced are partially of my own doing, and I will not hide that fact. But I am now taking steps to get my name out there on my own. I advertise via Google Words. I have a facebook fan page now. I post my videos on reddit (and they do pretty well honestly). I am networking at conventions (Guardian Con was AMAZING).
Again, I understand that I am owed nothing by anyone. But at the same time, I personally will never tell anyone I support them unless I actually have done something to show it.
Just like in writing and in tabletop RPGS: SHOW, dont TELL.
If you truly support someone, make sure they know it. Tell them, tell the world, what they mean to you. Help them get your their name out there. Otherwise, you might lose them. Just like the tabletop world has lost me.
I am done with Tabletop RPG Creation. I have 2 things left to do, that I promised I would do, then I am done. Oh I will still play tabletop games with my friends, personally. But write about it? Review it? NOPE. I am done. The public has spoken, they do not want me to create for them.
So if you are reading this, if you found this? Thank you for spending your precious time on me and my story. You have supported me, directly, with your actions. And whether or not you wish to continue, that is your choice.
However, your support, your patronage, your viewership are what keep me doing all of this. And now that I am having fun again, well, I hope you stick around for the ride. Got a lot more indie videos planned, more writing I want to do and books I wanna review, more games to do full reviews on, and the Gen con Vlog (I am gonna focus on board games and card games while I am there).
I hope this sheds light on my own personal struggles and what I have learned, and I hope this helps someone understand that you need to do what you love for yourself, otherwise you could end up in the situation I was in.
Peace out and stay nerdy everyone.
Oh, and the under construction stuff on twitter? Saev pointed out my current “branding” is very tabletop centric. I am working on getting some new stuff that is more Neutral done. The website, twitter, twitch, youtube, all of that will be updated once I have it.
I have no idea where I would be without Saev and Virus to be honest. Thanks you two, you are my brothers from another mother, even if you most likely will never see this message. I know neither of you really read my writings, you prefer my vids and streams haha!