Going Pro: A DMs Social Profile
Ask anyone about the explosion in popularity of D&D 5e and they’ll point you towards Twitch.tv, and in particular–Critical Role. There can be almost zero argument about Matt Mercer’s influence in making 5e the most popular version of the game ever. And, though his personality (and voice acting) is addicting, and his Dungeon Master abilities one of the best, it is unlikely he would have gained such success without the help of twitch streaming and other social media sites.
And then there’s the role that Matthew Colville has had in almost single-handedly training, inspiring, and supporting many new and burgeoning DMs–myself included. Through his youtube channel, he has become known as one the greatest experts on being a DM.
Though he has a job creating amazing board games, and also publishes fantasy novels, his YouTube and Reddit channels have firmly established him as a professional (even though, to my knowledge, he doesn’t technically make money being a DM). I have little doubt that his ability to guide a new generation of DMs into the game has helped him sell both games and books–and he deserves it.
Even in my own social media circles–the not-so dark realms of Facebook’s homebrew and publishing communities (though you do see the occasional troll)– there are big names that people trust to provide quality products, advice, and critique. They make themselves known through consistent contributions, not only gaining plain ol’ visibility, but credibility.
It is this credibility that makes them professionals.
Now, when we talk about becoming “professional DMs” on this site, we of course include the ability to make money–a dream that is a reality for many Dungeon Masters and independent publishers. But even more so, when we talk about “being professional” we mean a status of being well-known, trusted, and highly regarded.
In today’s TTRPG climate, it is extremely difficult to gain this professional status without cultivating a social media profile. In fact, I would argue that the “professional DM” exists almost exclusively because of the ability to interact with other players and DMs online.
So how does one cultivate this “DM Personality” on Social Media? Consider the following:
Be Efficient (Find your Niche):
There’s a lot of ways to interact–Facebook, Reddit, Twitch, YouTube, Discord, Twitter, and blogs, just to name a few. It’s enough to wear a guy out. And while there’s something to be said about permeating your presence throughout all the nooks and crannies of the interwebs, it’s not efficient.
Enter the “sharing” phenomenon. A post or comment on just a single platform can go viral across other sites. So instead of stretching yourself thin find your niche or two (where you’re most comfortable) and focus on those. Trust others to spread your content. Personally I focus on facebook and discord (and now this blog), while also occiasionally going to Reddit and Youtube for guidance. I should probably get into the whole “Twitch thing.”
Be on social media–a lot. Post something, somewhere almost every day, even if its just a comment. Don’t go more than a week without appearing and reminding people you’re still around, and you’re part of the community. That’s what it all comes down to–be an integral part of the community. When people think of “that Facebook page” or “that discord server”, you should work to be part of what they think of.
Be Polite, Respectful
Don’t be “that guy”, you know the one; no one wants them at their table, why would they want them in their social media community. If you want to cultivate a reputation of professionalism, be polite and respectful even when you disagree. Your criticism should be constructive and honest. And please don’t be a troll. If someone is mean, just let it go, you’ll be more successful than them.
Professionals stay relevant because they’re always learning. Professionals become professionals because they learn from their mistakes, take advice from other people, and question what they think they know. Social Media, with its wide variety of opinions and experienced people is the perfect place to quickly learn about whatever TTRPG you’re into. Find a community, pick people’s brains, and when you make a mistake (put out a crappy product, make a really bad ruling, or screw over your players) let the community help you learn from it.
Put yourself out there
Be vulnerable with your community. No, this doesn’t mean talk about that moment you wore your shirt backwards on that really important date, or that you wet the bed until you were 14. I mean don’t be afraid to get your opinions, your homebrews, and your weaknesses as a DM out into the Social Media community. It will aid every aspect–visibility, credibility, and helping you learn. Failure is just a single step in success, so don’t be afraid to fail again and again… just get yourself out there!
About The Author
The admin for the site!