As we continue our on-going coverage of African-Americans in the video game industry (see our interviews with Joseph Saulter and Jamin Brophy-Warren), we present an email interview with Latoya Peterson. A self-described media junkie, Latoya writes about race, gender, film, television, anime, manga and other elements of pop culture. She has been quoted in the Boston Globe, The Guardian (UK), CNN, Newsweek, and other publications. Latoya is the editor of Racialicious.com and a sought after speaker on topics of race, gender, and social-media. Of course, we wanted to interview her because of her special focus on video games.
I thought that someone as involved in social media as Latoya would have accounts on every major social networking site on the internet. I imagined that she would have profiles on tumblr, digg, YouTube, vimeo, foursquare, and a host of other sites. However, Latoya explained that this is not true.
I found it to be welcome news that someone as involved in emerging media as Latoya is, can focus on three sites. As I thought about it more, it made sense. While services like ping.fm provide a way to send one update to multiple social networks, it can still be time consuming to manage more than three or four profiles. By focusing on the largest social media sites (Twitter and Facebook) and her own piece of the web (her blog), Latoya can interact with the vast majority of online social media users.
Given Latoya’s streamlined approach to social media, I asked her how she uses these sites to cover the video game industry.
She replied, “Social media allows me to keep up with the ever changing gaming world. It also provides me with a useful filter. For example, if I am getting information from Twyst, I know she’s looking at gaming and comics with an eye for gender representations, so I can go to her feed first. For me, social networking just allows me to extend the number of awesome people I can “talk” to each day.”
As Latoya stated, social media is a useful filter. By organizing her network into their areas of specialization, she can get precise information about various aspects of gaming. It was unveiled after our interview, but I’m sure that Facebook’s recently announced updates to Groups will help Latoya make Facebook an even more powerful filter for her gaming information needs.
Latoya went on to share that social media is good for more than just data about the video game industry. Social media is also a great way to see the diversity of the people who play video games.
“I’m not formally in the gaming world – I just cover it. That said, it is really easy to stay in touch with a national and international network of gamers. Since I started looking at race and games, my network had delivered me with tons of data – everything from the perspectives of gay gamers on Xbox live to the experience of an Asian American actor hired to promote a controversial game,” she said.
Many people have been drawn to social media because of its diversity. Sites like Facebook and Twitter make it possible that there are others “like you” no matter how different you think your are from mainstream society. Ideally, this results in the creation of groups that use their collective identity to gain a voice that would otherwise be ignored. Whether this voice speaks about the experiences and interests of sexual orientation, race, gender, or some other trait, I’m sure we’ll find Latoya Peterson using social media to listen and engage.Category: Featured, social media | Tags: Gaming, gender, latoya peterson, race, racialicious, social media, video games