Community – An Open Letter

Dear Podtacular and Halo Communities,

Halo Fest was a great time to meet you all, the community and other fantastic community leaders.  I was truly blessed with the ability to attend thanks to bs angel over at 343 Industries.  I got to attend amazing panels, play the new Reach maps, and have the best time of my life.  Needless to say, I got to meet and talk to people in person that I never thought I would and was completely amazed during the whole event.  While all of this made my experience one that I will never forget, it does not address the underlying theme that Halo Fest was built upon: the community.

Halo Fest made me realize that the success of the franchise isn’t the fact that it has one of the best story lines or multiplayer experiences, or that the developers are passionate about building a game that not only fans enjoy, but they do as well.  Halo is successful because of the community that lies underneath it.  Not to sound bias, but Halo has one of, if not the best community support shared between diverse groups of fans that like anything and everything from Warthog jumping to Forge art, from Grifball to MLG.  While these communities are great, they all have leaders that help push their communities forward and keep them engaged in the franchise.

As many of you probably know, I was invited to participate on the Community Panel at Halo Fest, an honor I was pleased to take part in, but looking back, left me with a burning question:  Compared to everyone else on the panel, how well have I led Podtacular?  Looking at everyone on the panel, everyone has done something innovative to add to the Halo Universe and have active communities supporting them.  They all have a specific purpose and they explode on the opportunity to do everything they can for their community.  I look at them and think, “Have I really done everything I can for Podtacular?  Is the reason we don’t have an active community is my lack of commitment?”

The Unofficial Halo Universe Podcast has an underlying meaning:  It’s unofficial because obviously, we aren’t the ones that make the game, Halo since our focus is the fantastic Halo franchise, and universe, because we cover everything… or do we?  Taking a critical look at what our podcast is, universal is definitely not a term that should be associated with this show.  We have mainly focused on what has interested us and haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on outside our little circle of hosts.  If this podcast is going to be successful, that needs to change, as well as my attitude and commitment towards the community.

Being accountable and committed is probably one of the hardest things for every community leader, especially for the vastness of Halo.  It is something I have realized that I am in lack of since my return from Halo Fest.  While I did pick up the community and have big shoes to fill, it doesn’t mean that I should not put my best effort into giving you guys a great experience here at Podtacular.  There have been many instances where I have said I would do something for the site and things fell through many times: things like new forums, an IRC server, and a consistent podcast schedule.  You all deserve better and richer experience as being part of a community.

Here I want to announce my dedication to Podtacular and what that is going to entail.  First of all, a better experience concerning the website.  I will get the new forums working by the end of the month along with the IRC server.  The forums will contain new features that will optimize your experience with other community members.  The IRC server will allow you to just have fun with others, give us a central platform for Live show chatting and, hopefully, a central hub for other Halo communities.  As I just mentioned, we will invest into doing more scheduled live shows, where you all will know weeks in advance when a show will be and what we will be talking about.  I will also start investing into creating a mobile app to be ready by the end of the year.  This will introduce an ease of interacting with all things related to the website: the home page, the forums, podcasts, and more.

In terms of community, we will be scheduling more events were you all can play with us and other community members.  This includes social events, clan matches, scheduled game nights and tournaments.  We will have a new community member guest host on our show at least every month and have guests on our show whenever we can.  We will coordinate with other communities to hold events and help spread news around about fellow communities.

To address the universal aspect of Podtacular’s goal, we will start partnering up with HBO and other sites to find featured guests to have on our show at least once a month.  In order to be a universal podcast, we need to invest in other’s creations and possibly help expand coverage to highlight talent within the Halo universe.  We want to attract more people to Podtacular, not so we can just say that we have a large active community, or have a huge listener base.  We want Podtacular to be a strong community with dedicated fans that will in turn be entertained and able to get the scoop about major things in the Halo universe, and provide a platform where everyone is welcome and will have ways to connect with others.

While all this is things I can do to try to change Podtacular, there are things you as a community must be willing to do.  Just as we support Halo and it’s developers by being fans of the game and pushing communities forward, you must help us push the community forward.  We are all busy with real life things, but just as I will be making efforts to change, the community must do the same.  We enjoy providing you with laughter and entertainment through the podcast and providing a platform where you can connect with others, but we cannot do it alone.  If all you can do or want to do is listen to the show and interact with other fans, that’s your decision, but we need people to step up and help us out.  We need people that are willing to help pick up the ball on some efforts that we want to do and be committed to it.  We are constantly looking for people to step up to help the community.  Opportunities will rise, and if you stay aware, you’ll know when they are presented to you and you can jump on them.

In conclusion, there are many things I would like to do, and many things I need to do.  All of this is feasible for us to attain and grow upon.  I will say that most of this depends on my class load since I’m still pursuing my master’s degree.  However, if you feel like I’m not putting forth all the effort I can, please tell me, challenge me.  I really want to enhance your experience and bring Podtacular up to a level that meets your expectations.  The future of Podtacular is bright, and I’m happy to be a part of it.  Now it’s my turn to do something with that.

Keep on Fraggin’ Trucks,

Dust Storm

This entry was posted in Community. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Community – An Open Letter

  1. JVB says:

    I’m here for you brother.

  2. padraig08 says:

    Podtacular be praised!

    I’m really happy for you Dust Storm. Halo Fest had this invigorating energy about it, and definitely inspired me to be more active as well. I think what Podtacular has been (or more why it was worthy of you being on the community panel) is a sincere show that originated out of shared love for Halo and it’s community. As long you keep that original spark of why you do this, everything will turn out awesome. It was a pleasure to meet you and share some laughs on the way. Can’t wait to see what you do.

    Best of Luck!

  3. MidgetDance says:

    It was awesome meeting you at Halofest!

Leave a Reply