Monday, August 13, 2007

The Silence of the Tobold

I listened to Keen and Graev's first podcast this weekend, and enjoyed it. Keen talks a lot more than Graev, but that's okay. They cover WoW, LotRO, PotBS, WAR, and some more general game theory, like Melmoth's excellent tree analogy of the state of the MMORPG genre.

I've been asked by some people now whether I would start to podcast or participate in existing podcasts. Podcasting is the new blogging. But my answer is no. I don't have to participate in everything that is "in". And there are some solid reasons why I prefer writing my thoughts to speaking them:

The most important is that I can express myself better in writing. When I write a blog entry, there is some amount of editing going on. Not just spellchecking, Blogger doesn't have an in-build spellchecker, but editing to make my initial ramblings more coherent. I reread longer posts and rephrase some sentences, or reorder paragraphs. All that is a lot easier with a written text than with a podcast.

Another reason is that I am not a native English speaker. I had people on Teamspeak laughing about my accent and telling me that I sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don't want to be known as the podcaster with the funny voice, no thank you. As I express myself better in written English, I have a better chance of being taken seriously if I stick to writing.

A deeper reason is that I feel that putting my voice on the internet crosses an invisible line I have drawn to protect my privacy. The last thing I want is somebody recognizing my voice and connecting my Tobold identity to the name that is written in my passport. Unlike Lum or Grimwell, who leveraged successful MMORPG sites into a job in the MMORPG industry, I have no interest whatsoever in a game related job. I already have quite a good job, and that one isn't connected to games at all. So I'm trying to keep that identity and my internet identity strictly separate. Games still aren't considered a serious hobby for a grown-up man.

And finally I'm thinking of my readers. Fact is that all my blog statistics show that I get a lot more trafic during office hours than during the weekend. And some people stated that they prefer reading my blog via the RSS feed, because their company firewall or content filter lets through feeds, but not blogs. I even get blog related e-mail that people sent from their company e-mail address, which is sometimes funny when the company e-mail system automatically adds a footer with some legal disclaimer or a request to send feedback to that person's manager (watch out for that if you work for Dell). In many jobs you can get away with reading blogs or feeds during times when things are going slow without attracting too much attention, but not listen to podcasts.

So for all these reasons I'll remain silent. So if you want a podcast, you can try Keen and Graev, or the for a much larger selection go to VirginWorlds. The "Shut Up We’re Talking" series, hosted by common sense gamer Darren, is very good.

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