Team Focus – Tosh Feb 13 - GameSyns
"When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable." - Walt Disney
Welcome back to another team focus everyone! This one is a bit different from our other focuses as it is somebody who normally does the interviewing. Today, I’ll be interviewing everyone’s second favorite Tosh, behind Daniel Tosh of course! (I kid Tosh, we love you!) I think this quote actually reflects entirely on what it means to be a Community Manager, as you need to believe in your team and what you guys are doing in order to truly convey the team’s passion to the world.
Hey Tosh, thanks for joining us today! So let’s start off with a pretty easy question. Who are you and what do you do on Installation 01?
Hey there, thanks for having me Syns! As the title suggests, I'm Tosh, I am kind of a mixed bag here, taking on a lot of behind the scenes things that aren't on my job title of Senior Community Manager here on Installation 01.
You look pretty young to be calling yourself a “Senior” anything! I imagine being keen on forums and social media had something to do with it, but how did you find out about i01 and what about it caught your interest?
Me? Look young? Clearly you haven’t seen my face yet. Jokes aside, I was told about i01 in early 2017ish, then again when the cinematic trailer hit, my roommate sat me down to watch it since I'm a Halo nerd. From there I followed development for a good while eventually dropping off to pursue other ventures. The new year came around, and I was hurting for a Halo game and decided to see where i01 was. There wasn't much public information out there, but I started reading the Weekly Updates that were done by TheFeelTrain, and joined their Discord server shortly after to stay up-to-date.
After joining, I figured I would check out the job listings, and found that they were looking for a Community Manager! Applied, and got in the next day. The rest, as they say, is history.
History indeed. For those unaware, what does a Community Manager do and why do you enjoy doing it?
To keep it basic, my job here is that of a liaison between the community, and the development team. I engage with the community to build relationships, gather feedback, and foster new ideas that can even make it into the final game. After gathering this information, I have to make it actionable for the development team so that we can make the changes you all want to see.
On top of that, I am normally the writer of these lovely articles, and once the game releases one of the guys you'll see far too much of on live streams, at events, and on of course, in-game.
I sure kept that basic, huh? There's just far too much to list here, so I'll leave it as that. On this project you must wear many hats, thus my experience here isn't that of just community work, but some development, and leadership as well. But I absolutely love it!
Basic enough for me! It might be worth getting a hat rack in your room then! Anyways, how did you end up becoming a Community Manager; did you have previous experience in similar fields?
Tough question, really everything I've done has lead me to this point. I ran several guilds back in the early World of Warcraft days which I would make update articles on our guild website of the state of the game, how our progression was, what's next for the guild, and so on.
I've been a moderator/overly active user on far too many forums, spending too much time talking to people about the things that we both love -- and hate so that naturally leads me into doing that in a more professional manner via Community Management.
Basically, I've just been a very vocal person and loves building communities. But no experience specifically in the field of Community Management. Just love, passion, and the drive to learn how I can do this for the rest of my life. Even just on this project, I've learned so much and only continue to do so.
I just hope I am doing a good job so far, I'm sure everyone in the comments will let me know that though haha.
You’ve been a part of the community team for a while, what is your process for figuring out “What’s the next big reveal” and how do you go about spreading the big news?
The next big reveal? Well, that just kinda starts with where we're at with the game. What is the next big thing we can show the community that gets them engaged? Having been part of this community, and really the Halo community as a whole for a long time you come to learn the obvious things that get people talking. Armour, Gameplay, a new trailer, and eventually a release date. You just kind of weave those things in until you can get people excited about the game itself, which is really where the fun begins. I can't go into details about it, but we've got some really cool community events planned for the game. Oh, almost forgot, teasing everyone is also a good way to get people hyped for those big reveals. *wink* *wink*
As for spreading of the news, you should generally engage all of your social media platforms, that is the best, and easiest way to get the word out. With working on a budget of $0 for everything, obviously, we can't do proper marketing. So we rely heavily on word of mouth, making it crucial to utilize every platform we have to get the word out.
Ooo, big reveals? I can’t wait. Have you ever heard news from the dev team that you immediately wanted to post and share with the world? If so, can you tell us what it was and additionally, do you actually have something you are keeping under wraps right now?
Literally everything, I just want to tell everyone everything that we're doing because I'm constantly hyped about our own game. That's the hardest part of the job really, keeping it to yourself, especially in times where there's not been very much content released is sheer agony haha. As for things I'm keeping under wraps right now? I'll say this, we have a lot up our sleeves for 2019.
I can imagine that keeping things hushed until it’s time to show it off can be quite challenging. Speaking of challenging, what is one of the biggest challenges of being a Community Manager?
Staying as objective as possible. Any good community manager doesn't engage in topics that alienates anyone in their community, doing so despite an opinion you hold is difficult. I'd say that's easily the hardest part, because one wrong move, one thing said to the wrong person could mean your job and any future job in the field.
How do you overcome that challenge?
I overcome that challenge by actively trying to see everything from other people's point of view. Of course, this doesn't mean you must be void of all opinions, that would be impossible for most people. By all means, you should take action against certain things, and speak out against them just choose those things wisely.
Thanks for that insight, alright time for our first of many fun questions. If you were to choose one social media platform to remove from society, which one would you remove and why?
That's a hard one, I think they all really have a place. It comes with the job, but I don't like silencing someone's voice because of the platform they use. But since I must choose, I'd likely get rid of FaceBook. FaceBook feels like the platform I'm least connected to, so that's really my only reasoning haha. I've just never had an interest in the platform as a whole. Not to say that I don't use it for work, but outside of work, you'll rarely catch me on it.
Okay, now that we know your least favorite, what is your favorite social media platform to use, and what about it sets itself apart from the rest?
Another hard one. I'd probably go with Twitter simply because so many people use it, and it's easy to connect with friends, and new people alike.
Is that social media platform also your favorite to use for spreading the news about i01?
Yes, I'd say it is. As I said, it's extremely easy to connect with people on there, and have an open conversation with multiple people.
Outside of Halo and i01 related accounts, what are some topics/people that you enjoy following on twitter. For example, I really enjoy following SpaceX since they always have something cool to post.
I enjoy mostly following other developers, whether that’s their personal accounts, or if it is the studio account themselves. It helps me stay in touch with the larger gaming community rather than exclusively Halo or i01.
What is your writing process and do you have any tips for anyone who is looking to get into the PR field about improving their writing process?
My writing process is dependant on what I am writing, you have to take a different approach to every different topic. For example; I would never take the same approach to write a Weekly Update as I would to writing in my journal.
As for tips, I'm still learning myself, but I'd say you should definitely study others' work, read a lot, write a lot with different topics such as keeping a journal, doing some reviews, what have you. No one ever has to see them, but you're constantly improving yourself by writing them yourself. If you can, find a friend you can share them with so that you can get feedback, and improve even more!
Really that's all I've got, it doesn't really help as much as just doing it, but I enjoy learning a word a day, and using it as much as I can throughout. Broadening your vocabulary never hurts!
How about your creative process? You seem to have a fun and relaxed process that results in sometimes hilarious, yet captivating posts. What made you choose to have this approach?
Much like my writing process, it depends on what I am writing about, but as far as Installation 01 goes I approach it as a conversation with the reader allowing for it to feel like we're old friends catching up, rather than me talking at them. Of course, this is dependant on which section in the update, and often times I can get a little too into talking about the subject that I forget I'm just presenting it. But I chose this approach to make the reader feel like we're friends even if we've never spoken personally. That person is now becoming friends with our company, our team, our game, and so much more just by taking a laxed tone with them.
This further allows me to connect to them personally while engaging the community. Even if we're talking for the first time, it's like we're old friends... or they hate me! Haha
Being a liason, you work with many facets of the development team. Can you describe how your experience working with the team of i01 has been thus far?
It's been one of the best experiences in my life, I adore this team, and I know I've made life long friends here. I couldn't ask for anything more.
One of the most rewarding feelings is getting to meet all these extremely talented people who are just starting out in the industry, I know the people on this team will go on to make some pretty amazing things. I can't wait.
That’s awesome, so being one of your best experiences, do you have a favorite memory from working on i01?
A favorite memory? That's a hard one, I've had some pretty good ones thus far. I'd probably say the infamous naked Spartans bug a while back. Good laughs were had, and I got to experience what it was like to be a Spartan superhero for a couple matches.
How about your favorite Halo memory?
Again with the hard questions haha. I'd probably have to say playing Halo CE for the first time with my cousin, brother, and father on Beaver Creek getting absolutely wrecked. Little did I know this game that I shouldn't be playing at such a young age would go on to shape a lot of my life. So I hold those first moments very close to my heart.
Not all of them are gonna be hard, I swear! But this one, well this one is gonna be difficult! Congratulations, you’ve unlocked every armor available in Halo. How do you dress your spartan (you can cross match different armor sets from different games)?
Oh boy! It's actually rather hard despite everyone reading this already knowing it. But the thing is my favorite armor set is now one made in i01 that people haven't seen yet. I think a lot of people will feel the same once we show it off. But since that's cheating, I'll throw on flaming FOTUS armor.
Flaming Fotus armor, that would be epic. Funny enough I actually bought a code for that armor back when Halo 4 came out since I loved the armor so much! I wonder if the blue or orange flame would look better? Now that you have the armor, would you jump in Custom Games or Matchmaking?
I'm honestly more of a Custom Games player, I enjoy the amazing things people create, and I love forcing people to play terrible maps I made haha. But I do enjoy the competitive side from time to time despite my reputation for being bad.
Yes! Nothing like forcing the lobby to “enjoy” what we have somehow crafted. I have done that a few times myself haha. Okay… so you're the host of a large custom games lobby in a Halo of your choosing, what game/map combo do you choose?
Despite wanting to force my terrible maps onto people, I'll go with Halo CE, Beaver Creek, Shotty Swat CTF. Full 16 players. If you have never played this. Do it. Seriously. The madness is amazing.
Well, that has got to be an epic game, I love swat! Now you need a music track for your session. Do you have a favorite Soundtrack and if so, what’s your favorite song from that soundtrack?
I love all of the Halo Soundtracks. But If I had to go with one, I'd probably go with Halo CE, and for song “Rock Anthem to Save the World”. To this day this song hypes me up.
Good choice in music! Speaking of hyping up, what part of i01 are you most looking forward to on release?
I'm most looking forward to the community getting their hands on our game, I can't wait to play it with fans, be excited together, and finally get to do some of those community events to see everyone come together over our creation.
That’ll wrap up the interrogation, thank you again Tosh for joining us, that was actually really fun to hear how you got involved in the project and how your path led you here!
It’s always a pleasure to interview a “Senior” citizen of the project, okay fine, I kid I kid, you don’t look a day over 25! Anyways, tune back in a few weeks where either Tosh or I interview another member of our team! Thank you, yes you, the one reading this, for joining us today.