Navigating the social mine-field otherwise known as Twitter can be quite dangerous. When you're a high-profile celebrity, executive, or otherwise - it only gets more difficult and complex.
Over the last several days I witnessed a series of heated exchanges between Daybreak Games President John Smedley and a notorious hacking group called "Lizard Squad" - specifically one of its members Zeekill.
I already wrote an article stating my thoughts and feelings on the issue, but that wasn't enough to resolve them.
Over the past weekend, I ended up tuning in to the EverCast Show on twitch (an EverQuest-franchise focused gaming talkshow) where the cast decided to discuss the past week's slew of DDoS attacks (supposedly perpetrated by members of Lizard Squad) and the fiery exchanges being had on twitter.
During the show, members of the cast were expressing their opinions and digesting the week's events with their twitch audience when John Smedley actually showed up in the audience to set the record straight. I watched as Caeleste (one of the show's primary cohosts) ripped into Smed with some heavy criticism on his choice of words and actions. Words and actions which I just so happened to also disagree with. I among a handful of others in chat also tried to politely and professionally show our disapproval of how the situation was handled.
John seemed to change his tune (albeit slightly) about his actions, apologizing a couple of times to the players (which was honestly the least of our concerns, when the hackers he was provoking began targeting his employees at Daybreak). I don't think we still completely saw eye-to-eye on things by the time Smedley had to leave the audience, but whatever went down in those 30 minutes seemed to have a lasting effect.
Hardly days after Smedley showed up to address fans and players on EverCast, he promptly deleted both his Twitter and Reddit accounts. He openly admitted that he will miss having that personal interaction with the fans, but feels that his interactions in social media were actually distracting him from doing what he is most passionate about: creating compelling games.
It was a surprising move by Smedley, that I have to give the man respect for. It really shouldn't have surprised me - as John tends to sport the word "bold" with flying colors. However, it was probably one of the more daring, yet agreeable decisions I have seen the man make yet. I too will miss firing shots John's way and sharing thoughts and opinions about his games, direct to the source - but overall the loss of that ability will won't outweigh the relief that I'm sure many Daybreak employees are now feeling (and likely can't or won't admit), especially the folks in the PR department.
So to John, I say: "Well played."
I'm sure it wasn't the easiest move to make, but it was probably the right one; and that's good enough for me.
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