An Influencer Was Born

510 words.

I can’t stop chuckling about this so I have to mention it.

I got an email. Someone saw my Dwarf Fortress videos on YouTube and sent me a Steam code to try their game.

I’m an INFLUENCER now.

Live image of a YouTuber becoming an influencer.

This is hilarious to me.

Hilarity aside, it brings up a slight ethical dilemma. I don’t consider myself a journalist here, but I would like to think that in life I follow some basic codes of conduct and ethics, which would also extend to my YouTube channel. One of those would be that if someone gives you something for free, there are strings attached, so think carefully about accepting the gift. Even if they say, “no strings attached!” There are totally strings attached. Obviously these people expect me to look at their game and give it a glowing review, loudly and publicly and repeatedly.

I can’t say I’ve ever been too fond of the “here’s free stuff so you’ll love us!” aspect of the computer universe. It extends beyond games. Back in the 90s, I remember quite a few print magazines would happily accept free goods in exchange for a review. Once we wrote the review *for* the magazine. I’m not joking about that. It happened. Magazine reviewers in general would routinely get free hardware gadgets and write reviews about them, not because they cared a whit about informing people about products, but because they got free hardware gadgets they could play with. I knew several. I’m not saying it’s rampant today, but I have no doubt it still happens now and then.

I’ve never heard of this game in question, which I’ll keep a tightly-guarded secret for now (which you can easily learn by reading that Twitter thread), but I’m tempted to try it, especially since it’s in the same vein as some other games I’m enjoying right now. It might be fantastic, or it might be awful. By the law of averages it’s probably average. By pure luck, it won’t cost me anything to find out.

I guess I’m just saying I need to setup a policy for this kind of thing in the future. Now that I’m a GOD-LIKE INFLUENCER WITH THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD ON MY EVERY WHIM. It’s not something I ever thought I’d have to deal with. But I want to be *perfectly clear* when I’m writing about or playing something that I was given for free, loudly and publicly and repeatedly.

P. S. It’s also a bit funny and certainly a sign of the times that the first time someone sent me a promotional gift it was a result of video content, not the blog. PIVOT TO VIDEO! GO!

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