The Alpha Ambassadors are well known in the Xbox Ambassadors Program – those Ambassadors who have proven that they exhibit exemplary support and leadership for their community – and among them is Scrtch. While Scrtch is almost immediately recognizable as an Alpha within the Xbox Ambassadors community and a gamer within the larger Xbox community, it is perhaps less obvious that he is also a father, dual house owner and traveler.
To this day, Scrtch is well-established on Xbox Live, and being a member of that community has afforded Scrtch the ability to make friends around the world. He notes that he’d love the chance to visit London one day.
“[I]’ve actually made quite a few friends over the years that actually live there now,” Scrtch says. “I feel like I could go there now, and it would be like visiting family.” He says he can probably name a friend in every state of the US, too.
Scrtch’s activity extends beyond Xbox Live to the Ambassadors community as well; in fact, he’s been with the Program since before it even received its name. “The term was used by trixie360 in 2006,” Scrtch says. “Back then was when I became an Ambassador. It was a ‘cool kids club.’ If you were good on the forums, they gave you a badge.”
“I think it was kind of new for everyone at the time, because they didn’t have a specific support forum, they just had names trying to manage the forums,” Scrtch says. “But the idea of support wasn’t necessarily new, because people naturally came to the forums for support. It made it more streamlined.”
But that was 2006. Ten years later, the Program has developed into what we see today, with a Redmond-based Team and an ever-growing number of Ambassadors running the show.
Scrtch plays a prominent role in the Xbox Live community – that doesn’t begin and end with the Alphas, though. His work extends beyond that. Along with being an Alpha Ambassador, he is also a moderator for the Xbox Support Forums, an Xbox MVP, co-leader of Xbox US Playdates, an Xbox Twitch channel streamer, and the successful operator of his own YouTube channel and website.
“I swap hats back and forth pretty fast [when on the Xbox Support Forums],” Scrtch says. “Moderator-Ambassadors are kinda like the caretaker at the haunted amusement park on Scooby-Doo where there’s the same guy on every ride with different masks.” Scrtch finds the attention to detail that he has to employ as a Moderator, and the support work he does as an Ambassador, to be a fun challenge.
“I’m kinda like the 2-year-old of Xbox,” Scrtch jokes. “I try to put my hands in just about everything that’s going on, and if I don’t try to, I’m asked to. […] Maxen (another Alpha Ambassador) helps me run the xboxgamer.me website. It’s basic Xbox news and reviews – a place of opportunity for people who are writing about gaming. Judge (also a member of the Alphas) has a relationship with developers, but my focus is tying the work in with my YouTube channel.”
Scrtch’s YouTube channel, Scratch Plays, has amassed approximately 4,000 subscribers. The most popular videos including tips for resolving sign-in issues on the console, a video about the Fallout 3 Museum of History items and help with Cloud storage on the Xbox One – all showing Scrtch’s dedication to educating the community and the fun he has with Xbox products.
Also dabbling with Twitch.tv streaming, Scrtch has been featured on the Xbox Ambassadors Twitch channel and the Xbox Twitch channel, in addition to running his own Twitch channel.
“I’m on the Xbox Twitch channel every Friday at 6 p.m. EST, but that’s part of the Ambassadors Program,” Scrtch says. “I’m marketed as an Ambassador, and even though I moved to the Xbox channel, my show for New Member Friday is basically like […] It gives the [Xbox] Ambassadors Program a platform to spread the Ambassador message.”
“Anyone on the Ambassadors [Twitch] channel, they probably already know about it. But with me, being on the Xbox channel, I run into a lot of people who don’t know who the Ambassadors are. We talk about the Ambassadors Program on the channel. We hope to convert them.”
Community interaction doesn’t begin and end with Scrtch’s YouTube channel or Twitch streaming, though. His real passion is bringing the community together to game through his work with the Xbox Playdates US.
“Every Saturday night at 8 p.m. [EST], we just get the community together to play some games,” Scrtch says. “Xbox Playdates started in France, by an Xbox MVP from France, actually.” Now the program is global, and Scrtch is a co-leader of the US chapter.
Being an Xbox MVP himself, Scrtch knows that it takes a lot of hard work in the community to make things work.
“I was selected as an MVP because of the forums and my involvement – the [Xbox] MVP is an award for being an evangelist for Microsoft products [and Xbox products],” Scrtch says. “There’s about 30 of us, I think. We all come from different places and perspectives. It’s basically an award for community leaders.”
And Scrtch isn’t alone in his efforts. Those who are considered the Alpha Ambassadors all demonstrate leadership skills, love of the products and heightened community involvement. “[I] think that’s a big testament, to the Alphas in general. We’ve talked about the different teams I’m involved with – wherever I go, we try to really weave that fabric of cohesiveness.”
“If you’re a new Ambassador – and you’re looking to become an Alpha or whatever – I think it’s a good thing to aspire to be, but […] one thing that I often hear is, ‘Hey, Scratch! How do I become an Alpha? I want to become an Alpha to help more.’ I don’t know how to answer that because you can always help more,” Scrtch says. “If you just focus on doing what you’re doing and doing it really well and doing what you love, becoming an Alpha or becoming a community leader will just be a byproduct.”
“I never decided I wanted to become an MVP or Moderator or Alpha Ambassador,” Scrtch confesses. “I focused more on doing what I was doing, and that stuff just came with the territory.”
Among his biggest projects in the gaming community, Scrtch is currently working to contribute to Extra Life. Through radio spots, and working with the director of a local hospital, Scrtch is hoping to even outdo the hospital’s own donations through the charity stream in November.
“[I’m] trying to get local people into it – just spread local awareness,” Scrtch says. “I feel like we can outdo that [hospital-based] program, because this is actually pretty engaging. It’s gaming. Even my dad is on Candy Crush. You can give a little bit of your time and yourself, as well.”
Scrtch isn’t one for taking the credit or boosting himself through each interaction he has. “It’s sometimes difficult to see myself like I think other people see me,” Scrtch says. “I just do whatever needs to be done. I don’t know everything, but I can probably make a comment on just about everything. I’ve had the benefit of making mistakes, learning from them, learning from other people’s mistakes.”
“I never stop learning. I came into the forums in 2005, and I still learn from people every day. I’m analyzing and absorbing everything.”