Molecule Profile: Hollie Tang
Hollie Tang (aka the Meme Queen) has a vital role here at Media Molecule, working hard to energise our wonderful Dreams coMmunity through the unstoppable power of memes. Here, we chat to Hollie about finding your feet when you accidentally stumble into the game industry, pushing chickens off ledges, and the limitless wholesomeness of the Dreams coMmunity.
Hi Hollie! What do you do here at Media Molecule?
I work in the coMmunity team as a community manager, and I basically look after our coMmunity and make sure everything goes out just the way it should go out on our social channels. This includes looking after our social media content, so there's a bit of communications involved. And when we have big events, my role is to make sure the coMmunity get hyped up. That's basically what we do: we're hype people for the coMmunity, and we big up the coMmunity when they have really cool stuff to show off.
That sounds awesome! What's been one of your favourite things that the coMmunity has done recently?
Well, it's not actually out yet [at the time of the interview], but I really like the look of DreamsFest '22. It's one of the biggest coMmunity celebrations in Dreams that isn't an official Mm-produced event. For that group to be able to come together to put on something on that scale is just so impressive. And to bring together that many people to collaborate and make music and just vibe in Dreams, it's just really cool to see them do that by themselves.
So given that you work as part of a team that creates some... interesting internet meme content, there probably isn't a typical day for you. But what kind of things do you actually do day-to-day?
The first thing I do is probably check my emails, mainly to check that nothing is on fire, and to check for anything interesting that's going on in the coMmunity social spaces. Sometimes members of the coMmunity might be struggling with something or needing something, so we like to check in with them regularly. But at the moment, we're really busy with DreamsCom planning. Also, it's LGBTQIA+ Pride month [at the time of the interview], so we've been doing a bunch of activities around that like making videos, planning streams and so on - but mostly DreamsCom planning.
If I have time on the side, I like to look at memes and see what what the newest trending thing is on TikTok, because social media never rests. We do try our best to push coMmunity content as much as possible to people who might not know what Dreams is, mostly through our TikTok because we currently don't have a big presence on there right now. We have people like gamers that follow us, but they don't always know what Dreams is. So right now that's one of the biggest pushes that we're trying to do, just to get the Dreams name out there to a more casual audience.
Cool. So let's just clarify that for a second. You get to look at memes for a living?
Yeah pretty much.
Sounds like a dream job.
It absolutely is.
As the coMmunity team is the most player-facing part of Media Molecule, what does it feel like to be the part of the team liaising between the development teams and the coMmunity?
It can feel a bit daunting sometimes, because sometimes there's the odd thing that you have to communicate that might not make everyone happy, or we have to sort something out where a coMmunity member has had something go wrong in the game and we have to think of a solution quite quickly. And sometimes the solution might not be enough for the coMmunity member, so it can be difficult when you have to face that negative feedback. But what is nice is that we get to see both sides of the game. We get to see the development side of things where the game is made, and we also see the coMmunity side of things where people enjoy the content we produce. So we can usually come to a solution most of the time on how to resolve any issues.
Was community management something that you had always been interested in, or did you come to the job through another angle?
This is really funny because when I went to university I actually didn't do anything to do with gaming whatsoever, I didn't even know community management was a thing at all. I actually went to uni for language sciences and psychology and I thought I'd be a speech therapist, but then after studying three years of it, I was like, "Nah, this is really not for me". I guess I always wanted to get into the gaming industry, but I just didn't know what I wanted to do. So I started looking for jobs, and I found a community management role at an agency, but I didn't really know what it was. So at first I applied for a different role in that company which was a sales role, and when I went there on the interview day I realised that "Oh my God, sales really isn't for me".
And there was a community manager who was there at the interview, and we were just chatting about memes. He was showing me some of his work, and what he does as a community manager, which is not just memes, but there are parts of it that were meme-heavy. So I told him that his job sounded really cool, and he told me how he basically manages their social media and manages their communities, and that's how I learned what a community manager was. And that's when he said to me, "Oh well, if you don't want to do the sales role, how about you interview for this role instead? Because we're looking for another community manager". So that's how I got my foot in the door - literally completely by accident!
And do you think there's a difference with the kind of community that you're working with at Media Molecule compared to your previous jobs?
Oh yeah, for sure. I adore the Dreams coMmunity. They're just so wholesome and everyone's just so lovely. Not every community is so welcoming, but when I came here everyone was just so pure. They're all so supportive and so happy, and if something goes wrong they're just like, "Yeah, don't worry about it". I've spoken to other community managers before and they ask why our coMmunity is so much nicer. They're telling me about all of their problems and how toxic their communities can be and I'm just like, "Yeah, I can't relate". We're just over here, chilling and celebrating everyone's creativity.
You've been involved in quite a few different events and activities now with the coMmunity since you've been working here, but which has been your favourite so far?
I would definitely have to say DreamsCom, with the Impys a close second, but DreamsCom definitely was the highlight for me last year. Because I joined the team just before DreamsCom '21 launched and so I got to see some of the process behind the scenes, and how it was all pulled together. And I also got to check it out last year ahead of time, before DreamsCom even launched, which was pretty cool. That was the first time that we streamed not only on Twitch, but on TikTok. And on TikTok, we got about 40,000 concurrent viewers, and I just remember being so happy seeing how much success we were getting even to people who didn't know what DreamsCom was. It was amazing just being able to see everyone's booths last year and all the creativity and showing the coMmunity off. It felt like a really lively, genuine convention, even though it was all online. So yeah, that really blew me away.
Is it hard to balance the various social media platforms? Do you have to pick and choose the kind of content that you put on each one, or are you able to spread stuff across multiple channels?
For different platforms, we tend to have their own bespoke content because, for example, Twitter's mostly for pictures and words. Right? You can't really do that on TikTok, because TikTok is mainly video-focused. But then Instagram is kind of like a happy medium between them both. So we try to have different strategies for each platform. Twitter is our home ground for all new content and updates. Like, if you wanna check anything out or wanna know what's happening in the game, then you go to our Twitter and you'll know instantly what's going on. And then we sometimes drip feed that through to Instagram and TikTok in their own way. So we might do a video version of what we're talking about on Twitter, on TikTok. And then we might put a screenshot of something and then write a description for it in Instagram. So although we are doing essentially the same thing, we're presenting it differently.
Mm staff seem to have a lot of interesting items on their desks. What's on your desk at the moment?
Okay, so I've got a little Poke Ball from when I went to the Pokemon Centre in Japan and I love collecting these little trinkets. So I got this Poke Ball with like an Eevee inside. Also, my desk is always cluttered, and I've always got loads of snacks literally right next to me. Right now I've got a can of Pringles, a Kit Kat and like 2 bottles of water, and I usually have a little a drawer where I have snacks. At my last workplace, people used to say "Oh yeah, that's Hollie's snack drawer - if you ever want anything, just go over, ask her for snacks and she'll share".
And for those people that might want to work with you and gain access to your snack collection, do you have any advice you'd give to someone looking to get into a community management role?
Well when I was back at uni I really didn't know what I wanted to do, and I was really scared about it. But now I'd just say don't worry about it - you'll find something you like, and things will eventually work out. But if you want to get into community management specifically, then I would say probably do an internship. That first community manager job I did started as a three-month internship trial period because I didn't know whether I would like doing community management. What would really help is showing that you have a good knowledge of social media and posting content and following trending content, because I think that's what helped me as well, as part of community management is not only looking after your community, but also looking after all of the front-facing social media platforms. So if you can show by yourself that you already know the social media part inside and out, then that's a massive, massive help because that's half the job done already.
Great advice. So to wrap up, what are your favourite Dreams, and are there any that you'd like to recommend?
One that I really liked was Fragments that was part of the Autistica jam. Fragments was one of the first Dreams I played and it genuinely blew me away. And it was made for the Autistica Jam, which was really nice, to just highlight how people with autism experience the world. I was just so amazed that this was made by a coMmunity member and not a developer because when I first started, I didn't really have any expectations of what the quality of Dreams content would be. But then I started and experienced this and it was just so much more creative than what I would have imagined, and so much more polished as well. So that will always be quite close to my heart because it reminds me of when I first started at Media Molecule.
Another one was quite a recent one called Giblets. You play as a chef, and there's a platform with loads of sentient chickens and you have to try and - this sounds really silly when I say it, but you have to try it - and like push them off the edge so they get cooked. But that's just so Dreams and it's so funny because each level is designed very differently, so you can have a space level one time and then the next one could be like a sea level and each one of them is just very, very well created and really funny.
One other one that I was really blown away by was The Idyllium. I know everyone talks about it, it's very well-known and even won an Impy this year, but it's incredible. But what was also special about it was that it launched during lockdown I believe. We couldn't really go out or anything, so I streamed it with my partner and we were both pretending it was like a virtual date, us just wandering through this massive museum. It felt like I really was at the Tate Modern or something. And she was blown away. She was like, "CoMmunity members made this?". And I was like, "Yeah, they just got together and made this massive museum." It's just so tasteful. I don't know anything about art, but I can appreciate when something looks pretty!
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