Social Media, Anxiety and Self Worth

As my job as a streamer on Twitch scaled up to a full time job, it became almost all consuming in every aspect of my life. When I wasn’t streaming I was working on things to get the next stream setup. When I wasn’t doing that I was plugged into social media trying to keep up with the game and what was going on with the people around it.

Every time I sent a tweet or posted on Reddit I would feel a sense of anxiety bubble up inside of me. Would I be praised? Refresh. Would I be vilified? Refresh. Why did they dislike me? Refresh. Did they understand what I said? Refresh. Why didn’t they understand what I said? Refresh.

Many Humans have a natural tendency to focus on the negative in life. This means on a good day when I’d get a dozen positive comments, the one or two hostile ones would sting. I’d remember them longer.

There weren’t just good days though. Have you ever had someone tell you that you are terrible at the thing you spend most of your time doing? How about two people? How about a dozen people? How about fifty people who get up votes and likes from hundreds of other people?

I think many of us, myself included, often forget that there is a person on the other side of our computer. We type things to TopDeckHero420 that we would never dream of saying to someone in real life. It is harder to be empathetic to a faceless username than it is to be to a person standing in front of us. It is easier to write them off as dumb, rude or mean as opposed to misunderstood.

Just as much as I have been on the receiving end of this, I have also been the one who has sent out the hostility on more than one occasion. The social media world is fueled by hot takes and putting people on blast to encourage outrage. Taking a step back and thinking about the impact your words will have often comes second to garnering clicks, likes and upvotes.

For a long time I rationalized to myself that the way social media culture occurred did not impact me. I was tough. I had a thick skin. Blocking, banning, muting and timing out people who wanted to be hostile was “fun”.

It wasn’t fun though. It did impact me. It made me anxious. It made me frustrated. It made me sad. It made me question my self worth. It made me wonder why I spent the time making the things I made.

Some of you may have noticed a couple of months back the tone and types of posts on my Twitter account changed a bit. This was because I gave up direct control of that account to my loving wife who now runs it as a content focused account with the occasional post about our adorable kids. At the end of last year I did something similar with my reddit account, but this time leaving my buddy Mat with the login.

Not only did not spending time on social media make me more productive – it made me happier. While I was missing out on some positive feedback, I also wasn’t being subjected to negativity. It is a change I wish I had made sooner.

In case any of you here find yourself in a similar spot in life just remember –

  • You are great
  • Life is short
  • Social media is optional
  • You are worth more than your number of likes

Improving Tie Breakers in Events

Something that has always confused me in TCGs is how we run events today with hundreds or even thousands of people the same way we used to run events with just a couple dozen. We play some Swiss rounds based on the number of players and then cut to the top 8 players because it squares a bracket nicely.

Because of the way this is done we often have spots in these single elimination rounds being decided by tie breakers which are determined by the strength of opponents played in the event. Because no one has any control over who they play, this makes tie breakers random. Because TCGs have enough variance in them I personally would love to see some methods tried that could reduce this often frustrating variance Today I would like to talk about one possible alternative method.

We start by playing a number of Swiss rounds based on our event size. We would use the current round thresholds minus one. So, for example, with 65-128 players we would play six rounds of Swiss. At the end of swiss we do a single elimination cut with all the players who finished with an X-1 record or better.

Because we are cutting based on record, we will often not have a perfectly square amount of players. Now we use tie breakers from the event to square the bracket by handing out byes to the players with the best records. For example, if we had a 125 player event we would likely have 14 players who are 5-1 or better after six rounds. This means we would need to hand out two byes in the first round of single elimination, so the players who finished first and second after the swiss would get a bye.

Folks who are familiar with brackets will note this creates an additional round of single elimination when we have nine or more players who finish X-1 or better. This is fine though because we removed a round from the Swiss portion of the event. This means events are at most the same length as we are used to them being for the players who make the top cut, while also being shorter for a majority of the people playing.

While I think my suggested method here would likely be an improvement over the current system which we have been using for ages, I would not be surprised if there are even better solutions out there. I just find it surprising, and kind of annoying, that we have been using the same tournament format for decades without ever exploring other options.

A Short Thank You

I probably do not mention it enough, but I appreciate the silent majority of TCG players that are reasonable people. I love meeting people, shaking hands, and damaging, err, signing stuff at events.

Sites like reddit giving a loud microphone to the vocal minority is frustrating, but perspective is important.

I just want to say thank you for supporting my content. Whether you are a subscriber on twitch channel or just someone who reads my articles every week – thanks. You make doing what I do worth doing.