Archive for May, 2011
I got word last week that the video footage from the Digital Surrey event in April was finally available on YouTube. That means the presentation that I gave on the videogame industry is also now available for those that saw the SlideShare I uploaded but didn’t get the context.
A big thanks to Chris (@LondonCorporate) for filming the event.
Hopefully this will now make things a little clearer for those that are interested. From a Community Management point of view, some of the points made and ways of interacting with the audience can be linked back to the post I wrote about thinking outside the box.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about Gamification being the new kid on the block for Social Media and I’m off to a presentation tomorrow evening at the monthly #DigitalSurrey event specifically about the subject. Rich Millington wrote a post about it on his blog and how he thinks it should be avoided in favour of reputation systems for communities off the back of Dan Marotta giving his thoughts. Now it’s time for me to give my take.
Firstly I need to provide the view from the point I’m standing; as someone who has been in the videogame industry for 10 years Gamification is pretty much a part of the scenery. The biggest entertainment industry in the world has been built off the back of it and claiming it’s the holy grail for Social Media makes my skin crawl.
When it comes to Communities though I’m a little mixed. Reputation can be an important element and one of the reasons why users continue to frequent your community and it’s reputation that can aid in identifying Power Users and Key Influencers but there’s definitely a place for Game Mechanics. Level systems, points, rewards and triggers are pretty much starting to become the norm with more and more people picking up a videogame and playing. Loyalty programs for Credit Cards and Store Cards have been around for donkeys years and these all use a basic level of Game Mechanics (I’ll show you what you can get if you do X).
The most important thing to remember though when considering introducing Game Mechanics into an online community though is relevance to both the audience and you as a CM. What data can you draw from it and how will this influence how you manage the community? From a user point of view, what’s the benefit to them of spending the time and effort of taking the deep dive into any system that involves Game Mechanics? How do you reward them whilst ensuring the curve isn’t too steep and that satisfaction can be achieved whilst jumping through hoops?
Slightly late on writing this post but it’s inspired by a meeting I had today with a bunch of cool people, the team at Club Penguin in the UK. For those that don’t know, CP is a virtual world aimed at young people (6-14) that was bought by Disney a few years ago.
For me, the meeting was a chance to see what they do with their audience and how they interact with them. They also think outside of the box in terms of how they go about CSR and interact with Parents. On the CSR side they have a community page but it doesnt house your general community functionality, instead it has things like recipes for the audience to make, suggested outdoor activities and good old Blue Peter style “how to make” areas. Not once do they talk about the game or link it to the shop for merchandise, they use it as a tool to provide the audience with something different and show parents that CP has their childrens best interests at heart.
I think we can all learn from this in CM respect, although we look for interactions, relationships and engagement what about the other side of the coin? The power of getting the audience to do things away from your brand or product and making them feel good?
It’s often been said that “Content is King” and to a point I agree with this. Yes communities are about building relationships and improving engagement but content can form part of the backbone of a community and give the audience something to build relationships off the back of. The title of this post looks at “Contribution” as a series of things and therefore likened to a Royal Court.
It could be the ability to share content to places outside of your community, the ability to comment directly on the content and start discussion or the ability for users to submit their own content / UGC. Whatever it is these actions can all be rolled up into the term “Contribution”. These actions all depend on the provision of content where there isn’t the use of a forum or the ability for users to dictate the content by their own submissions. Thus we come full circle with content as the king that drives those different types of interaction and contribution.
For me at the moment, part of what I’ve been tasked with is creating a content plan for a community site and I’ve got to take into consideration what my target audience will likely engage with (video vs. text) as well as things like frequency of content. It will also depend on what plans Marketing have for announcements dates on elements of the game, the game backstory and what the plans are for post-launch. What I do know though is that the content will be a key driver in trying to get the audience to interact given that they are young people and things like personal messages and forums are a no go.
As I start to get to grips with the new project I’m working on for Disney a number of things have struck me. When looking at levels of functionality for your community you can liken it to looking down a rabbit hole. The things I took as necessary for my duties at EA will likely not be required for the community I’m building for Disney due to the audience.
Things like IP banning or the ability to drill down into user profiles can probably be brushed aside (not least because of the considerations of the audience and the associated legal drama that can unfold). So, the rabbit hole. If you are working on the tech side of your community have a think about what’s going to be useful and what you can actually get away with for the audience you are targeting. Although I prefer post-moderation (Passive) it may be a case of having to go down the route of pre-moderation (Active) as I’m dealing with young people.
Still confused by the rabbit hole? Well they tend to be dark when you look down them and you never really know how far they go. The tech requirements for a community are just the same, how far do they (and you) really need to go? Can you stop at the entrance with minimal functionality or do you need to go head first to see how deep the hole is?