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Meet The Trendy Team - Josh Isom

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In the latest installment of the Meet The Trendy Team series, intern Matt Arnold interviews Josh Isom, community manager at Trendy Entertainment, about his experience at Trendy, how he began working in the gaming industry, and more.

Hey, Josh. Can you tell me about yourself?

Sure! My name is Josh Isom. I’m 21 years old. I’m a journalism senior at the University of Florida. I love NBC Thursdays. I have a major crush on Ruth Wilson. I wish people were nicer to each other. I believe video games are a near-perfect platform for storytelling. (I still think books are better.) I wish I could live in Murakami’s version of our world. I’m saddened by the portrayal of women in video games. I can’t remember the last time I went a week without eating fast food. I would let Matt Damon do terrible things to me.

How long have you been the community manager at Trendy Entertainment?

I’ve been a community manager here for seven months, but I’ve been with the company doing community management support for a year. When our former (and sexier) community manager, Justin Danford, left to chase other pursuits in January, Jeremy and Phil asked if I wanted to join the team and get paid and everything. I’m totally making bank now, as you can see from my ‘98 Chevy Malibu. 13-inch spinnas, y’all.

Is this your first job in the gaming industry?

Yep! I went to college to become a video game journalist, but somewhere along the way that changed. I’m very grateful to be given this opportunity. I’ve never had a job so challenging or fulfilling before.

How long have you been playing video games? What are your all-time favorite games?

I’ve had a video game system in my house since I was born. I don’t remember the first time I played a game, but the earliest memory in my life was calling someone a b**** in DuckTales on the NES. Good times.

I really love Dungeon Defenders. I honestly do. I feel awkward when I try to get my friends to play it because I feel like I’m pressuring them to play a game that I work on. Other than Dungeon Defenders, I love the Halo series. Halo was where I first experienced video game hype. My obsession for Reach news almost ruined my relationship with my girlfriend. I’ve learned to calm it down since then. (But Halo 4 is just around the corner. Eek!)

There’s a special place in my heart for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I challenge anyone to find a 1080p video of The Wind Waker and tell me that it’s not the most beautiful game ever made. It’s a living, breathing cartoon. Link’s eyes and the way they emote expression still makes me giddy.

As a community manager, what are some of your daily tasks?

I’m in charge of many things: our official forums, Facebook page, Twitter account, our Steam forums, the IRC chatroom, live events on Twitch, community events, event rewards, lost player data and email support. I’m very grateful to have LauraWantsaCow and IceArrow on team, who help me tackle the workload. I couldn’t do a fourth of my daily tasks without their support, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I appreciate their efforts. I couldn’t ask for two stronger or more capable workers.

I’m also in charge of moderating the moderators. (Who watches the watchmen? Me. That’s who.) And I oversee the community-hosted events.

What are your favorite aspects of community management? Why?

I love that I get paid to have meaningful conversations about what I love most: video games. I love the freedom of my job. I love that I get to take the feedback from the community and turn it into something tangible in the game. I just wish I had more time in the day to do everything I want to do.

Based on what you’ve experienced so far, is community management what you expected it to be?

At first, no. During my first month as community manager, I had to break some pretty tough news to our console fans. I was pretty depressed about that for awhile.

But since then, it’s been almost exactly like I wanted it to be.

In the office, who do you coordinate with the most? What departments do you interact with on a daily/weekly basis?

I work with every department in the office -- marketing, development, QA, art, level design, corporate and, of course, the community team. It’s my job to be as knowledgeable about our game as possible. I take that job seriously. I work the closest with Phil, our marketing director, since our jobs have the most overlap.

How did the DunDef Digest come about? What sparked your idea to begin posting weekly updates for fans in form of this digest?

For the past decade, I’ve been reading the Bungie Weekly Update. I would run home from school on Fridays, start the dial-up process (the dreaded 56k!) and get a snack ready before diving into the update. It’s a ritual that made me a diehard Bungie fan, even when my love for Halo was hit-or-miss.

Back in October, while I was an intern I started the Forum Week in Review, where I gathered all of the biggest news and best forum posts and put them into one convenient location. I suggested that we take the idea and make it bigger, similar to the Bungie update where we revealed news through the update itself. That spawned the Dungeon Digest, which became the DunDef Digest. Our former (and sexier) community manager, Justin Danford, handled Digest duty until he left back in January.

When coming up with a community event, what process do you usually go through?

When creating a Trendy-hosted event, I think about how I would want to play the game if I didn’t have access to all the fun tools I have at my disposal. And when that fails, I look to the forums to see what people would want to play.

The last event, Raining Ogres, was inspired by a community member’s suggestion to make Ogres rain from the sky like in Raining Goblins. Unfortunately, that idea didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to, so I thought it’d be fun to troll people by letting our hosts spawn Ogres all over the place. Turns out, the game can’t handle 200+ Ogres spawning at once. Who knew?

As for the community-hosted events, we leave that entirely up to the creative collective of the community. To help bring people to their events, we create unique items for them to give out. It’s time-consuming, but I hope the community appreciates the effort.

How do you come up with new event weapons and items? Do members from the community contribute?

Event weapons and items spawn from the community. Laura and I make sure that these items won’t break the balance of the game before delivering them to the hosts.

Can you tell me anything about Trendy Entertainment’s next project?

Absolutely. Not.

I will say that my stomach starts to flip and my inner geek gets excited when I hear about it.

What have been some of your favorite moments while working at Trendy?

I love our company gatherings. We went to the midnight premiere of The Avengers as a team. Like Danny said in a previous Meet the Team interview, I wish we went out to lunch more often like we used to. Fun story: As soon as Danny completed his interview, I coordinated another team lunch. Once the team starts to wind down on current projects, it’ll be easier to get the gatherings going again.

What advice can you give to someone interested in pursuing a community management position in the gaming industry?

Find a major that focuses on writing. (Except English. Most English majors can’t use a comma properly, and it’s frustrating.) A community manager’s main task is writing. If you can’t communicate properly, nobody is going to hire you. Journalism is a great major for this. It teaches the most important rule of communicative writing: accuracy. People rely on you for accurate information. You cannot afford to be wrong. Plus, journalism teaches concise writing. Short, simple sentences are the clearest way of sharing information.

Community managers need to be the biggest contributor to a community, so find a community that you’re interested in and participate. Write positive articles based on that community or find exemplary members to interview. These are perfect for a portfolio.

Practice your social media management. Start a community blog and develop a Facebook and Twitter following for it.

Most importantly, develop positive relationships. This is the most critical part of community management. People need to like you, they need to be able to interact with you, and they need to feel valued by you. This is a great rule for life in general. Like Conan O’Brien said, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

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Its good to know more about you ps you look alot like justin bieber in that pic :/ im sorry for you
also Harry potter land in orlando is AWESOME!:)


Bieber is my inspiration. He just speaks to me in a way no other human being can. Swag. Swag. Swag.

I just chopped all of my hair off, actually. People literally gasped when they walked in to see me.

Wizarding World rocks! I have an annual pass to Universal Studios, and I'm going to go back sometime in August. I can't wait!

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Its good to know more about you ps you look alot like justin bieber in that pic :/ im sorry for you
also Harry potter land in orlando is AWESOME!:)

I do not like JB. But ill give him this, girls dig his looks. So congrats hit ;)

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Bieber is my inspiration. He just speaks to me in a way no other human being can. Swag. Swag. Swag.

I just chopped all of my hair off, actually. People literally gasped when they walked in to see me.

Wizarding World rocks! I have an annual pass to Universal Studios, and I'm going to go back sometime in August. I can't wait!


Best part about Florida = Annual passes to Universal, Disney, Adventure Islands, Busch Gardens

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Best part about Florida = Annual passes to Universal, Disney, Adventure Islands, Busch Gardens


I haven't been to Busch Gardens in YEARS. I love the Montu.

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I haven't been to Busch Gardens in YEARS. I love the Montu.


I just recently re purchased my pass for Busch Gardens as I promised a friend I would go with them over the summer and I have to say I can ride Gwazi and Montu over and over again,

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I just recently re purchased my pass for Busch Gardens as I promised a friend I would go with them over the summer and I have to say I can ride Gwazi and Montu over and over again,


Somewhat related note: My girlfriend and I rode The Mummy ride at Universal over and over trying to make the most ridiculous faces for the camera. I laughed so hard at the last photo that I spit on the photo guy!

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Somewhat related note: My girlfriend and I rode The Mummy ride at Universal over and over trying to make the most ridiculous faces for the camera. I laughed so hard at the last photo that I spit on the photo guy!


Oh man, that brings back memories! Every Halloween I got to Universal for their Halloween Horror Nights and after me and my friends have had enough scares we head over to The Mummy ride and do the exact same thing.

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Best part about Florida = Annual passes to Universal, Disney, Adventure Islands, Busch Gardens


This! It's so much fun! But then again, I've been told I'm an adrenaline junkie. The wilder the roller coaster, the better!

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This! It's so much fun! But then again, I've been told I'm an adrenaline junkie. The wilder the roller coaster, the better!


Have you been on cheetah hunt yet at Busch Gardens?

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This! It's so much fun! But then again, I've been told I'm an adrenaline junkie. The wilder the roller coaster, the better!


Me too, but I draw the line at those stupid rides that shoot straight up in the air, like the Doctor Doom ride at Islands of Adventure.

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Me too, but I draw the line at those stupid rides that shoot straight up in the air, like the Doctor Doom ride at Islands of Adventure.


Ugh, I know what you mean. As much as I'm a dare devil I pretty much wimp out when it comes to rides that can have potential harm to me. Well, I guess it depends on what the ride is, I mean the greatest experience of my life was bungee jumping off this sort of mountain thing a good 150 feet down.

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Ugh, I know what you mean. As much as I'm a dare devil I pretty much wimp out when it comes to rides that can have potential harm to me. Well, I guess it depends on what the ride is, I mean the greatest experience of my life was bungee jumping off this sort of mountain thing a good 150 feet down.

What are you guys talking about those are the best and i bet i out adrinialine Junkie you guys!:D for my 18th birthday im going skydiving :)

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What are you guys talking about those are the best and i bet i out adrinialine Junkie you guys!:D for my 18th birthday im going skydiving :)


For real sky diving? Or the wimpy way where your attached to someone.:

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Definitely an album cover:

The Best of Josh Isom
The Essential Josh Isom
Josh Isom Timeless
Josh Isom HONEYDUKES

*lmao...see if you guys can come up with a great title to this folk singing hero!

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Definitely an album cover:

The Best of Josh Isom
The Essential Josh Isom
Josh Isom Timeless
Josh Isom HONEYDUKES

*lmao...see if you guys can come up with a great title to this folk singing hero!



I vote for Josh Isom HONEYDUKES just because it sounds original and the sign that say's HONEYDUKES is in the perfect spot. That picture is already an album cover on its own.

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I already thought you were cool as hell to begin with, then I find out you're a fellow journalism student and admirer of Murakami. Also, yes, the depiction of women in gaming is almost wholly a tragedy. While it was rare that I'd write fiction myself, back when I had the ambition to write in the first place, the rare pieces I did create would always center around strong female leads. I've always dreamed of being able to translate that sort of writing to a game, anime series, or something of the sort. Those two fields are a bit too skewed in catering to (stereotypically) young male tastes. Which is sad, too, because plenty of men (of any age) could appreciate stories with realistic, strong female leads. We're just not being given them - not more than once in a blue moon. And certainly not with any sort of mainstream promotion.

Definitely an album cover:

The Best of Josh Isom
The Essential Josh Isom
Josh Isom Timeless
Josh Isom HONEYDUKES

*lmao...see if you guys can come up with a great title to this folk singing hero!

Sort of tied to the author reference above, I'll suggest:
Josh Isom Wound-Up, Hard-Boiled, and Chasing Sheep

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Sort of tied to the author reference above, I'll suggest:
Josh Isom Wound-Up, Hard-Boiled, and Chasing Sheep


Outstanding! Chasing Sheep...genius. For the bacon lovers

Josh Isom bacon your heart

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Outstanding! Chasing Sheep...genius. For the bacon lovers

Josh Isom bacon your heart



Incredible!

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