Posts Tagged ‘Gamification’
On Monday evening I attended an event (GSummitX / #gsummitx) in London centred around Gamification. While the discussions were interesting and we undertook some useful group tasks it wasn’t these things that struck me, it was the content of the initial presentation from Gabe Zichermann that did.
He referenced some of the factors regarded as being relevant when looking at adoption of game mechanics and how young people differ from the previous generation. One reference he made was to fluid intelligence, or the ability to quickly reason, problem solve and multi-task. He used an example of a 12 year old being thrown in to a commercial flight simulator and being tasked with landing a plane. The outcome; the 12 year old successfully landed the plane without any prior training or knowledge. This was put down to a high level of fluid intelligence and may have been improved by spending time playing videogames.
So what’s this got to do with Communities? Well, I refer back to the title of the post. If the youth of today are demonstrating a greater level of fluid intelligence rather than crystallised intelligence do we as Community Managers need to adapt the way we create content, the regularity of that content, how we drive and involve ourselves in discussions and how we develop a strategy for our communities? If one of the traits of a youth rich in fluid intelligence is their inability to focus on the mundane or ’slow’ things like real life do we need to ensure our communities are rife with activity or things to do to keep them occupied and engaged? I appreciate this isn’t always easy but as we see another generational shift and with it the assessments of what is “normal” we need to be aware of those changes in order to stay at least with the game if we can’t stay ahead of it.
I’m starting to notice a major difference between B2B and B2C communities and when asked the other day to sit down and think about Gamification elements for a B2B community I spent a lot of time staring in to space. The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was the one that goes “is it worth it?”. Gamification for me is about enhancing the experience of users, setting challenges to encourage participation, risk and reward along with gaining the ability to brag about how much better you are.
But what about B2B? If your community only connects on a [user - brand] level and not [user-user] because it’s all business focused then some elements of Gamification become null and void. Bragging rights don’t really work but leaderboard might, ranks and levels for contributions aren’t as fulfilling if users aren’t going to engage with each other, rewards have to be geared towards B2B like discounts on account renewals and overall it becomes a shadow of a former glory.
Don’t get me wrong it can still work, and I’ll be working to try and prove that but when compared with some of the cool stuff you can do in B2C communities, it just isn’t quite the same, at least from where I’m sitting. If anyone has had success with Gamification in a B2B environment then I’m all ears but from this side of the table, I’m not sure the effort involved would generate enough of a return for the business.
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?