Games Workshop and Social Media

Last December it was a landmark birthday for my wife. So in the hope of easing the pain I booked a secret family break to stay in an old hunting lodge – that looked very much like a castle from the old world – near Carlisle. On the way we decided to stop off at Kendal and have a look around and like most people who paint plastic miniatures we (myself, wifey and the tiny man) ended up in Kendal’s Games Workshop store.

I have to admit that ending up in the store didn’t happen totally by mistake as I really wanted to meet the man who was behind the stores Twitter and Instagram account. GW at the moment are in the middle of a social media awakening with the creation of Warhammer TV, the community site and the use of platforms like Instagram. Even the staff at Warhammer world have their own personal Twitter accounts and are engaging with the community. If I’m honest this level of engagement is excellent and as a member of the community the impression I get is that GW it’s filled with passionate people that love their job and their hobby.

However, there is a problem and that’s the social media engagement from the local stores which, if I’m honest, is pretty poor. It feels like the memo was only received by the staff at Warhammer World that they can use a social media platform, other than Facebook, to promote the hobby, their store and engage with the wider community.

This has led to a situation where the local stores are languishing in the chaos realms of Facebook only using Twitter to push their Facebook posts to, which isn’t engagement, it’s just annoying. Now this may be just me being over sensitive to the issue as I don’t use Facebook but as the hobby is very visual I don’t understand why Twitter and Instagram aren’t used as both platforms have a massive community that would willingly engage. I can understand the argument that a lot of GW stores struggle for time but engaging with a new generation on the platforms that they use would surely be more beneficial in the long term for both the store and the hobby as whole.

Social media certainly brought me back into the hobby, after a long hiatus I discovered the #warmongers community along with some stunning model pictures which meant I popped into a GW store and picked up a few paints and a model, several years later I’m still painting and buying! I probably never would have gotten back into the hobby without the online community and I certainly wouldn’t have improved as a painter without ther guidance. So if social media can bring back an old warhorse like me then I’m sure it can entice a new generation that are on several social media platforms into this creative and fun hobby.

In closing and getting back to my visit to GW Kendal I met Adam the store manager and I have to say he gets it. He engages directly with the community through, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, he posts pictures of the models the guys who visit his store paint, he retweets tweets from other community members – many I assume who have never been to his store – and he engages and responds to comments, in short he promotes the hobby and his store. Because of his presence and use of Twitter and Instagram I visited his store as I was passing through the town, purchased a copy of White Dwarf and we had a chat. I will never be a regular visitor to Kendal but I can guarantee that the next time I’m there I’ll pop in, say ‘hello’ and buy something.

So GW stores I don’t expect the level of engagement that is coming from Warhammer World but it would be nice if the hobby at the local store level was engaging with the online community. It can be done as Adam at GW Kendal has shown, treat him as your primarch and mould your chapters in his image.

I’d be interested to hear what the community thinks. Are there any GW Stores that use a few social media platforms to promote their store and hobby. If there is please mention them in the comments below.

The Taste of Twitter

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On Wednesday 6th August at 8pm there will be a live twitter beer tasting event organised by @AlesByMail and hosted by the living legend that is @baron_orm . For those of you who have never witnessed the wonder, and magic, of a twitter beer tasting event then I will explain the basics for you. I’ll be your Obi-Wan to your Luke Skywalker.

So what is a twitter beer tasting event?

Put simply, it’s a structured(ish) evening’s conversation concerning a certain beer (or beers) that everyone is drinking and commenting on at the same time. In this case it will be @Okellsbeer IPA and Aile. There will be a host – The Baron – who will open up the proceedings, move everybody on to the next beer – when it’s appropriate – and generally act as guide on your beer tasting journey. Once the Baron has introduced the beer it’s up to you, the beer drinking twitter community, to comment on it by using the hashtag #beerybits.  Discuss the looks, the taste, and the smell with your fellow beer tweeters and let the conversation lead you where it will. It’s a fun, interactive event that is well worth getting involved with.

What you will need with optional extra non-essential essentials are in italics.

Access to twitter

A twitter account

A bottle of Okell’s IPA

A bottle of Okell’s Aile

A glass

Pork/Beef pies

Hot chilli mango chutney

A vase of flowers – The Baron likes to gaze at vase, when articulating beer praise

The  hashtag  #beerybits

Tissues

Being on twitter for 8pm on Wednesday 6th August

 

Where can you get the beer?

You can get the two bottles of beer from Ales by Mail FOR FREE with the glass – here and remember to use the promo code Okells – but you will need to pay for postage. It’s very simple so get cracking and i’ll see you all on twitter. Huzzah!

Words to use that will make you sound like a pro – as a general rule add ey or y to the end of the wordy and it will sound goody.

Malty

Hoppy

Yeasty

Earthy

Tangy

Boozey

Citrus

Aroma

Bouquet

Palette

Floral

Bitter

Banter

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This morning a promoted tweet appeared in my timeline from Carling. I responded to the tweet as a quote and gave two reasons as to why I wouldn’t follow them. The first was because I don’t like Carling and the second was that they used the word ‘banter’. I really don’t like the word banter, as was evident in my follow up tweet.

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The response I got to this tweet I found quite amazing with a lot of people retweeting and favouriting, evidential the vast majority of people feel the same as I do. There were also a few people who suggested that I should “lighten up” as “‘banter requires it to be a two-way ribbing” and to an extent I agree with them – well not about the lightening up part.

Bantering is a game of wits that traditionally relied on repartee, jesting and humour. However, in recent years the term ‘banter’ has been misappropriated by the “laddish culture” to get away with verbally attacking someone under the guise of humour and wit. If things go too far and someone reacts to a comment then their reaction is always deflected with “I didn’t mean anything by it, it was only banter”. Subjects that are normally inappropriate sexism, racism, sexuality, all seem to be fair game under the modern banner of banter.

Now I don’t have an issue with having fun and repartee with friends as friends know what is acceptable to say to each other. Friends would not want to purposefully cause each other hurt or distress. If you have ‘friends’ that upset you through ‘banter’ then they are not your friends, you’re unfortunately just their entertainment. It is modern use of the term ‘banter’ that really annoys me. As was pointed out to me ‘banter requires it to be a two-way ribbing” so if someone has to defend the words they use by describing it as “banter”, as offence has been caused, then it is not ‘bantering’. There is no humour in causing hurt or offence, it is just bullying. 

Taming the Beast

*Some of the below may not have actually happened*

Over the last few weekends I’ve been receiving direct messages on twitter which, surprisingly, haven’t been directing me to a link to see what ‘someone has said about me’. Instead these DMs have been asking ‘what am doing’ and do I want to ‘come around for a few hours?’. Fortunately, these DMs have been come from my twitter and real-life buddy @Baron_Orm (or The Baron as he insists everyone, including his own family, call him).

Now why did The Baron want a private liaison with the hero of this blog whilst his wife was pre-occupied? Now I know what you’re thinking but it wasn’t for a kiss or cuddle (and who could blame him if he felt that way as I’m a handsome chap), instead he wanted me to make the Baron’s beans fuzz! Now the bean fuzz isn’t an initiation process into the Cult of the Baron or a special baked beans recipe handed down from one Baron to the next since 1998. No, it’s something much more special than that. The Baron’s Bean Fuzz is a unique, hand built, boutique, one off, professionally finished, glorious sounding fuzz pedal – finished in a bake bean orange colour scheme, hence the name*. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with The Baron’s fuzz pedal, it looks amazing and the sound quality is excellent, all in all it’s an first-rate product – if The Baron has the time to invest in building these peddles then my crystal ball(s) tells me that he’ll be successful!

*Rumour has it that The Baron wanted to house the pedal in a baked bean tin but after crushing 7 tins with his stiletto clad feet he decided he needed more sturdy housing.

 heinzAs a proviso of being summoned to The Baron’s dungeon (his Y-front only dress code music room) he insisted that I bring my guitar. Now my guitar far surpasses my playing ability and I’m convinced that it was carved from Brian May’s hip bone; so I now live in hope that some of his ability will pass along to me, akin to the quickening in Highlander. As far as I can tell The Baron believes the same which meant he wanted to couple his fuzz pedal with my axe of epicness.  I still can’t understand why The Baron insisted on playing my axe naked but he did put on a good show – the lighting and pyrotechnics were especially spectacular but he did overdo it with the smoke machine.

The Baron in his Y - Fronts

The Baron in his Y – Fronts

It was during one of The Baron’s more exuberant hip thrusts that I started to think about how much more enjoyable learning and playing an instrument is with someone else – even if they are naked and thrusting. The Baron is a far superior guitarist than I am but every time we’ve managed to get together, to talk guitar, I’ve always come away having learnt something. Twitter, YouTube and the forums are great learning aids but nothing beats sitting down with a friend and helping each other through something. It’s a little disheartening that we both have busy lives and young families so we can’t dedicate a regular amount of time to the guitar – we also need to practice somewhere that won’t disturb our families. I don’t tend to regret decisions made in the past but I really do wish that I started playing when I was a child / teenager. So if you are a child / teenager stop depositing the contents of your testicles into sports socks, and start to learn an instrument and then build your own guitar peddles like The Baron. Who knows one day you could be as cool as us!

One cool cat

One cool cat