Gamification in Social Media – What is it and why do we LOVE it?

Gamification Social Media Atlanta

Gamification is the concept that you can apply the basic elements that make games fun and engaging to things that typically aren’t considered a game. 

The hot social buzzword of the week is much more then just a temporary fad to make so called social media “experts” sound more eloquent in their efforts to baffle you with their “expertise” they are trying to sell you.

Gamification is not a new concept; most of you are familiar with gamification in the social media world from using the location based check in service Foursquare. Why did we start checking into places and sharing our whereabouts with the world? Why did we abandon privacy to let potential evildoers know that we were not at home? Well, that’s easy; it’s all about getting new badges! Those things are so freaking cool!

Of course getting a new badge is cool but now you need to become the mayor of your favorite places by checking in to them more then anyone else.  In no time you discover that somebody else wants to become the mayor of your favorite coffee shop and now the battle is on, day after day, check in after check in all for the prestigious title of Mayor. The winner? The coffee shop, you have just been there 72 consecutive days buying a cup of coffee and telling all your friends where their coffee shop is…

Ever hear of GetGlue? It allows you to “check in” to things such as TV shows, movies, music, and books as well as allowing you to see what other GetGlue users are doing in real time. With each check-in a user earn points and wins stickers from GetGlue and other major brands that they have partnered with such as HBO. This is all for the love of being rewarded with a sticker, despite the fact that the entire system relies on the honor system seeing that GetGlue has no way of truly verifying what you are watching on TV. Oh yea, as of April 2011 over 1 million people are using this thing.

Gamification has been around a long time and now it’s crashing through social media. Human nature dictates that people naturally want to one up each other, whether it’s on the playground in a basketball game of HORSE or it’s building the better farm in Farmville. People naturally want to progress through something and receive a reward for doing so.  

MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) such of World of Warcraft have players earning all kinds of in game rewards while leveling their character to the maximum allotted level as soon as they can get it done. With a subscriber base of 11 million users, it’s a right of passage for these hard-core gamers to achieve the max they can bring their in game character to and trust me people work very hard at achieving this. It is not uncommon for a player to put in 40 hours a week towards leveling their character. To them it’s much more then a game, it’s an alternative universe and they can dominate there.

Xbox and PS3 now reward gamers with trophies and achievements so players can track their progress and compare how they stack up against fellow gamers. Again, people take this to the extreme to best the other player.

Gamification has been around but its now pushing its way into your social universe.

Social media allows us to share so much more then ever before. We can check in, earn rewards and essentially bait our friends into doing the same thing. Creating engaging items for people to interact with and beat out another user plays into the hands competitive human nature.

We want to win, we want to be the best and while that may not be possible in our day to day real world lives and jobs a virtual world exists and in this world our virtual identity can be a level 70 Undead Rogue or the Foursquare Mayor of all your local favorite places earning you all the respect from the online community that you are active in.

It’s this competition that is reinventing business, marketing and our day to day lives so look for many new ways that major brands will be trying to incorporate gamification into their brand and image. If they get it right, it could be a big game changer for certain brands out there. 

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