Community Manager looking for job

As of this past week, I am no longer employed at gamerDNA and I’m now looking for a new job.  Myself and five others were laid off last week, freeing up the company a bit so that it can operate at break even and continue to do awesome things.  A news article about the situation came out earlier this week with some quotes from our CEO Jon Radoff, if you’re interested.

Working at gamerDNA was an amazing experience and has helped my career in huge ways.  I’m very thankful to Jon and the rest of the staff for giving a (at the time) 20 year old from Ohio the opportunity to work at a video game internet startup.  I came on board in March of 2008 as the eighth employee, when the company was still meeting at Jon Radoff’s house and our desks were his dining room table.  I saw the company grow quite rapidly, move into its first office, change our name and rebrand itself, and launch GamerDNA.com in early June of 08′.  I remember the meeting that we had where we decided on the new logo, the awesome work of art from the super talented Sean Duhame.  Everyone was always involved and kept up to date on what was going on in the company, and I came to love our Wednesday “Lunch and Learns”, where the company would have lunch together and update everyone on the progress that we were making and any big news or exciting projects.

I’ve been to PAX twice now, I’ve been to BlizzCon, GDC and E3…all because of GamerDNA.  Two years ago it was just a dream to be able to go to those events (especially E3..such a video game nerd’s dream!).  I even had the pleasure of launching a website at E3 and representing the company in interviews for MTV.com and Current.TV.  Most recently I put together all the PR for our GamerDNA.com relaunch on Sept 2nd, which resulted in the most coverage GamerDNA.com had ever received for one launch.

GamerDNA gave me a huge amount of opportunities and responsibilities, and for that I am very grateful to Jon Radoff and the rest of the team.  What started out as an entry level marketing position (“Game Talent Lead”), later turned into a Community Management role and then ultimately my role as Online Marketing Manager.  It was a great ride.

If you haven’t yet, please check out yesterday’s blog post which included a picture of the product team at gamerDNA.  It was taken last week at our company party at Trapper Markelz’s house, and it shows a great group of guys that have become my surrogate Boston family.

So what’s next?

Now I’m interested in going to my next dream job, a Community Management job at a video game developer or publisher.  I don’t have anything lined up just yet, so I’m still looking and applying to various job opportunities out there.  I’m looking to take what I’ve done at gamerDNA, take all my passion for Social Media and Community Management, and turn that into a career at a game company.  That’s my hope, at least :)

If you’re interested in finding out more about all the cool stuff I’ve done in my time at gamerDNA and more details on my experience, please check out my LinkedIn Page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/samhouston .  I’ve updated it quite a bit and it’s basically a web version of my resume.  If you’d like to get in touch with me directly, please shoot me an email at Sam AT QforQ dotcom.  I’m willing to relocate for a new job, and I’m especially excited about CM roles that will give me the opportunity to interact directly with gamers, as well as work with press and represent the company at events like PAX.

Other things on the horizon are a relaunch of GameIndustryTweet.com with updated pages and a new look….and some time relaxing and catching up on all these video games I need to finish :).

Thanks for reading this far, if you know of any exciting Community Management gigs in the game industry – Please give me a shout!

-Sam Houston

I’ve been playing a lot of Aion lately

I’ve gotten back into MMOs in a big way…with Aion sucking in my PC gaming life almost completely. I’ve been playing it since it came out in September, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit!

With the way I like to play games, I actually don’t particularly enjoy MMOs and I especially don’t enjoy RPGs that much (Although I admit I haven’t given RPGs that much of a chance…I’m thinking I’ll check out Dragon Age: Origins or Fable 2, to get a taste of some RPG-type games). The reason I think I like Aion so much is that I’m playing it with a Legion (guild) that we formed from basically just a group of friends from my hometown in Ohio. It is great to play with a group of guys that I haven’t talked to very much in years, and I’m really looking forward to playing more and more with them in the months and weeks ahead.

I’ve also been using the time playing Aion to listen to podcasts…something I haven’t done since I moved a block from work, and something I really miss. I mostly listened to podcasts when I was commuting to work, so the 7 minute walk to work isn’t really conducive to listening to podcasts. Grinding mobs in Aion is the perfect task for listening to podcasts, and I’ve been getting back in to some of my favorites, as well as some new ones!

My favorite podcasts so far for grinding in Aion:
-The Abyss
-The Aion Fancast
-The Giant Bombcast
-This Week in Tech

I’m hoping to get back in to Geekbox.Net, along with the rest of the new and old video game podcasts from former 1up-ers. As a sort of tack on to my last post about Game Communities and Game Media, the video game podcast space is going to be growing a lot more as all these sites create new podcasts. I’m looking forward to checking out the new Game Informer Podcast, ShackNews podcast, 1up podcast, GeekBox, RebelFM, and the many others that I’m sure are going to crop up due to the shake up in the game journalism industry. Hopefully it results in a wealth of great content and great conversations about video games and the game industry.

I’m also thinking about getting into podcasting again. I’d like to join a video game podcast as a co-host, or a reoccurring guest host. I miss doing stuff like that, and I think I would enjoy having that sort of outlet again. If anyone out there reads this and is doing an awesome podcast, give me a shout!

Anyways…I kind of wrote this blog post to test my new Posterous blog, which should be hooked up to my blog at QforQ.com. I want to use this new tool to make it easier for me to blog and upload pictures on the go..which will result in more content on QforQ.com.

Thanks for reading guys, I hope to have more posts in the near future about social media and game communities :)

Here is my level 28 Gladiator in Aion:

Posted via email from samhouston’s posterous

The Consolidation of Game Media and Game Communities

Ramble about a trend I’ve been thinking about for awhile:

This is a trend that I’ve noticed over the past year, and it’s something that I’m obviously paying close attention to since I work for a game community:

As media is changing and leaving print media more and more, we’re seeing the media companies adapting to these changes in interesting ways.  Most recently we’re seeing companies like GamePro (IDG) and Game Informer (GameStop) invest money in bringing their readership and community from their magazines onto the web to their online communities.

This isn’t anything new or mind blowing…heck, 1up.com did this years ago with Elecontric Gaming Monthly and Computer Gaming World/Games for Windows Magazine.  (I’m wondering if 1up was just ahead of its time, or if it lacked some sort of feature set or push from Ziff to really get it to making bucket loads of cash)

Over the past week we’ve seen some pretty interesting changes:

  • Garnett Lee, former executive editor for 1up.com left to join GameFly Media as their Editorial Director.  GameFly doesn’t just rent games any more..they own several different gaming websites, including Shack News.
  • John Davison’s company/website WhatTheyPlay.com was sold to IGN, and now he’s leaving to go join GamePro as their Executive Vice President of Content.  His goal is to “reboot” GamePro, with better integration between the website and the magazine.
  • Billy Berghammer (Director of Gaming Editorial) is no longer at G4TV.com…and I suspect others left as well.  I’m wondering what direction G4TV.com will take now, if any change at all, since they just relaunched their website at E3 and dedicated a lot of resources to it.
  • GameInformer totally revamped and relaunched their website, turning it into a community website with editorial content in the spotlight.  It’s very 1up.com, and the site is looking great.

We’ve also got the new Electronic Gaming Monthly reboot happening this winter..which promises to be some sort of mix between Web and Magazine content.

We’re also seeing existing and new media sites recognize the importance of community and invest in interesting ways to help facilitate community.  For instance, Giant Bomb now tracks your PSN, Xbox Live, Steam and World of Warcraft Achievements.  Not only that, Giant Bomb is some sort of hybrid Wiki site mixed with an editorial site, the editorial brought to you by Jeff Gerstmann, Ryan Davis, Brad Shoemaker, and Vinny Carravelli (Sorry if I butchered your name man!).  All of these guys are former GameSpot guys, and they’re doing some interesting stuff.  As a side note: the parent company of Giant Bomb, Whiskey Media, is doing some interesting stuff in general. Keep an eye on them!

Other examples of news sites being communities would be Destructoid.com, Kotaku.com and Joystiq.com…all three of which are blogging sites that are growing more and more, and being taken more seriously by the game industry..and by themselves.  The amount of people reading these blogs every day is huge, and their power is not something to underestimate.

We’ve also got CrispyGamer.com, which is carving out its niche with a feature and video content based offering, and an advertising model which refuses to take money from game advertisers.

Lastly we have the GameSpot’s and IGN’s of the world…humongous game news sites and communities on the web that inform and entertain tens of millions of gamers every single day.

Anyways…I think there is some *really* interesting stuff happening out there right now, as some huge companies (and even smaller startups like Whiskey and Crispy Gamer) all invest in making the next version of the Media/Community site for gamers.  This is definitely something I’m going to be keeping an eye on, and I’m excited to see what everyone does next, as they all push each other to do something new and interesting in the game industry.

Are there any trends that you’re noticing?  Do you think any of the companies above are wrong about their approach, or one of them is totally dead on?  I’m interested in what others think of this trend..what others think is the larger story.  Let me know!

What I did at E3: TweetMyGaming.com

Wow…I can’t believe it’s been a week since E3!  It feels like it was so long ago now, everything has been a bit of a blur and I’ve been pretty busy at work.  Lots of exciting stuff going on, and now I can finally talk about most of it!

First off, E3 was tons of fun!  It was a great chance for me to see some new friends (mostly people I met at GDC/on Twitter) and meet lots of new folks, as well as get an introduction to a different side of the industry.  There is a big difference between the attendance of GDC (students/developers and press) and E3 (markters/sales, press, and buyers), so it was really interesting to meet more folks on the marketing/sales side of things.

GamerDNA sent me to E3 to do all of our press interviews for a new project that we launched, called TweetMyGaming.com .  TweetMyGaming tracks all of the gaming conversations on Twitter in real-time, and shows you what the most popular games are right now.  It’s a project that I was involved with since day one, all the way from the conceptualization and finding a contractor, to the execution/product direction and then doing interviews with the press :).  It’s something that I’m very proud of, and I’m happy that I’ve been able to do yet another project around something I’m very passionate about:  Twitter and Social Media.

So far the project has been quite successful for us, with interviews going up on Kotaku , Joystiq , and Destructoid .  Destructoid’s article even features some quotes from me, as Samit Sarkar was kind enough to do an interview with me earlier this week.  It’s pretty good article, so I hope you check it out!

When I was actually at the E3 Convention Center, I did a number of interviews with Current.Tv and MTV Multiplayer.  These turned in to daily segments, and MTV Multiplayer has put up theirs:

MTV Multiplayer – TweetMyGaming Day 1 Wrap-Up

MTV Multiplayer – TweetMyGaming Day 2 Wrap-Up

MTV Multiplayer – TweetMyGaming Day 3 Wrap-Up

TweetMyGaming/E3 marks for the first project and event that I’ve had the opportunity to speak directly with the press and do interviews.  All the feedback internally has been positive, so I’m really excited and happy that I was able to do this for the company.  My hope is that I’ll get to do this more often, it was a lot of fun!

In the near future I may do a brief post about E3 and what I saw there, mainly with pictures from my iPhone.  So until then…see you around and thanks for reading my blog!

Little bit of Catch-Up

Turns out that I haven’t been that great on keeping up with the blog this year.  Maybe I’m not cut out to be a blogger…but I’m glad I have it.  I’ve got an idea for a post about Twitter that I’ve been meaning to do…and I imagine I’ll also have a lot of stuff to talk about this summer because of all the adventures at work.

First off, GDC was a great time and I’m really glad I got to go.  Being at a convention that was filled with Game Industry Professionals was a very cool experience/feeling – you could really feel the tight knit community that the Game Industry has become.  Everyone knows each other, helps each other, great discussions are had, and tons of fun is had as well :) .  I definitely want to go back next year!

Since GDC things have been pretty busy both at work and outside of work.  Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to speak on a panel with Scott Macmillan and Darius Kazemi at the Independent Game Conference (IGC) in Boston.  Scott and Darius are two local independent game developer guys, and I’ve came to know and become friends with them mostly because of Twitter…so it was very fitting that we did a panel about “Networking for Indies” that focused on leveraging Twitter.  Overall I think we did a pretty good job and I learned a decent amount about what I’d like to do in the future, if I get the chance to do a similar panel.  It was my first panel/time speaking at a conference, so I’ll strike it up as a WIN!

My last bit of news that I wanted to document was that I’m going to E3 next week!  When I look back at what all has happened over the past year..it’s pretty hard to believe that I’ve had the opportunity to go to PAX, GDC, and now E3.  I’m super greatful to GamerDNA for sending me to these events and letting me take part!  Right now I’m putting a few things together for E3 that I can’t really talk about, but I’m very excited about them.  This will be my first E3 and I’m expecting it to be an awesome experience, with lots of new things to done and lots of new people to meet either for the first time, or the first time outside of Twitter 😉

That wraps it up for this blog post, I hope to stop by after E3 and share some pictures/stories, as well as write a couple blog entries about Community Management and another on Twitter.

GDC 2009 – Coming Soon!

I’ve been long over due for another blog update..but I wanted to throw this up just in case I don’t update before GDC.

I’ll be at GDC representing gamerDNA next week and I’d love to meet up with as many people as possible. I’m not going to any panels(I have an expo pass, though), and I’ll be there Tuesday-Friday evening. If you want to meet up and talk, I’d love to, and while I’ll be in some meetings during the day I’m sure I’ll have time to meet up with folks, especially at night! :)

If you would like to meet up, please message me on Twitter via @reply or Direct Message at http://twitter.com/SamHouston

You can also email me (info is on my about page).

See you there!

(PS! Don’t forget about our GDC Tweetup on Wednesday! http://www.gdctweetup.com/ )

Introducing GameIndustryTweet.com

The past week has been a wild ride and I’ve been working hard on following up on my Video Game Companies on Twitter list in an effort to expand that service out to more parts of the industry.  The result of this effort is the launch of GameIndustryTweet.com .

GameIndustryTweet.com will be the centralized site for the video game industry and gamers to find their favorite game industry professionals on Twitter.  Right now the site covers Game Developers/Companies, Press, Public Relations and Community Sites that are on Twitter.

Every update to the site will be posted on the front page of the blog with a list of the new people that have been added.  This means that by subscribing to the GameIndustryTweet RSS Feed you will stay on top of all the latest people added to the list.

As for QforQ.com, I plan to continue to blog about Social Media and offer advice on how the Video Game Industry can best leverage these new mediums.  I encourage everyone to read my latest article on How to Engage your Audience on Twitter .  If you would like to know how to contact me please check out my About page .

Thanks everyone!  I hope you enjoy GameIndustryTweet.com !

Thank you very much! (There’s more to come)

Wow, the past 48 hours or so have been insane.  What started out as a blog post I was writing while bored watching Edwards Scissorhands has now caught on like crazy throughout the gaming community.  Yesterday I wrote a blog post about Video Game companies on Twitter and since then I’ve received thousands of visitors to the site, hundreds of new followers, and many many blog comments, Twitter Replies, Direct Messages and emails all requesting to be added to the list or thanking me for writing the list.

Continue reading

Video Game companies on Twitter

This past summer I made a blog post basically calling out video game companies for not being active in social media , specifically Twitter.  In that blog post you can find some tips/tutorials I gave for how to use social media, how to monitor, etc.   Please check it out if you’re interested in how I use Twitter at gamerDNA and how to use it to monitor your brand/company on Twitter/FriendFeed and blogs.

Luckily, since then a lot of game companies have signed up for twitter and they are using it for various purposes like personal use, advertising stuff they are doing(or worse..just using it as a way to post when they have a blog update via TwitterFeed integration), or even actively using it to interact with their customers/gamers and as a customer service tool.

Since things have changed since that August blog article and I haven’t really seen a list on the web somewhere of all the game companies on Twitter, I’ll try to start a list here.

Notice: Due to the popularity of this list I’ve decided to launch GameIndustryTweet.com .  If you’re looking for a list of Video Game Companies on Twitter please click here .

Please add me on Twitter to keep in touch and enjoy GameIndustryTweet.com !

Company I work for:

gamerDNA:

gamerDNA – Official Twitter account for gamerDNA

JRadoff – Jon Radoff, Founder and CEO of gamerDNA

SamHouston – Sam Houston (Me), Community Manager at gamerDNA

TrapperMarkelz – Trapper Markelz, VP of Product at gamerDNA

Duhame – Sean Duhame, Creative Director at gamerDNA

skio – Antares Meketa,  Social Media Engineer at gamerDNA

Colliny2k – Collin, Engineer at gamerDNA

FattyChubs – Stephen Sopp, Engineer at gamerDNA

Imran_Malek – Imran Malek, Product Specialist at gamerDNA

stealthbaz – Russell Miner, Engineer at gamerDNA