I admit it, the facebook games suck me in. A few years ago, when I started playing “Dragon Wars”, I broke down and started sending and accepting friend requests from total strangers just so I could have more allies in the game.

The game developers want us to get all of our friends to play the games, but many players do it the other way around, finding people who already play the games, and then becoming their friends. In many games, the more friends you have, the more advantages you get. It’s a fast way to grow a friend list.

Since I am challenged with OCD, and can easily find myself obsessing on silly things like games, I was careful about only playing a few. I’m glad I did that. As it was, I ended up with well over 1,000 friends, and only a couple hundred of those are people I actually know. There have only been a few people I’ve had to defriend and/or block because of spamming or other inappropriate behavior. But I’ve also made solid, real friendship connections with many of these people I’ve never met.

Dragon Wars began to lose its appeal, with no reward other than seeing bigger numbers on my various statistics. Although they eventually made some changes and added content, by then many of my friends and I had stopped playing.

Castle Age is fun for those of us who belong to the D&D crowd. I not only play, but I belong to several groups whose purpose is to help and advise each other in the game. I interact with these people. We tell jokes. We complain. We click when asked.

The point here is not what games are fun, but how something like playing games has helped me to build an online community of supporters. I started playing these games long before I became serious about my writing. My gaming friends like what I like; dragons, knights, castles, spaceships, robots, and the list goes on. Since I followed the advice of “write what you know, write what you’d want to read,” a lot of these gaming friends are exactly the kind of people who might someday read my books.

This became clear to me the first time I flippantly posted a “SyFy question of the day.” Besides pissing off people who hate the abbreviation “SyFy”, I had quite a lot of people jump in on the discussion. It wasn’t a big question, it was just something that came up while I was writing, and I thought I would probe the collective consciousness. Things like “What kind of interstellar travel is most plausible?” sparked my friends to join in the conversation. I get far more comments on a single facebook status than I have ever received on any blog post.

In the past couple of months, I’ve done much more writing and much less game playing. But then I noticed a trend… I was interacting with fewer people, and I was getting less response when I shared a link to my blog. I imagine my friends felt like I had abandoned them in favor of shameless self promotion, akin to the housewife who starts hawking tupperware and alienates all her friends because she’s always trying to sell something.

My dayjob is housewife. I’m a mom. I have two kids who need and deserve my time. I also want to spend time on my WIP as well as keeping up with the blog. But with all these demands on my time, I’ve started playing a new facebook game. Because my friends are playing it. Because it is the kind of game I like, and also the kind of thing my would-be fans like.

And that makes it worth the time.

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About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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