Increasingly brands are getting involved with a heightened level of social interaction through social media, using games. This is called Gamification and surprisingly Wikipedia has very little to say about the term.
Gamification began with rewarding points for social interaction. Early examples of this could be seen with PHPbb forum post count which allowed people to increase in rank depending upon their post number. Other PHPbb plugins allowed the imaginary monetisation of forum posts and turned communities into imaginary marketplaces based on interaction.
The point is that Gamification finds the part of each person which is competitive and gives reason to share their experiences with other users. Recently websites such as FourSquare have turned Geo-Location into a service which can reward you badges, as well as discounts and freebies in the real world.
The actual term Gamification is fairly new or at least nothing substantial could be applied to the term before a few years ago. Due to this I’m going to form my own views of this phenomenon.
There are several forms of Gamification:
- Services which involve Gamification as a feature (ie. FourSquare)
- Services which could be used for Gamification (ie. Twitter)
I find the second option far more interesting. If anything Gamification is just a word which online social contest encompass. Gamification becomes apparent when people of networks have been involved into some sort of contest. This might be to win points, services, products… anything.
Gamification takes social networks and gives them a competitive edge which brands can use to promote their own services. Gamification can prove positive results, just look at Farmville. This infamous game boasts 80 million users, plaugues our Facebook newsfeeds and has involvements promoting brands.
From the weathering heights of Farmville to the adverts on websites which allow us to kick a ball into the goal or shoot a duck. Advertising uses methods of Gamification – technically something which can make the one-way basic nature of online advertising into an interactive experience. Suddenly Click Through Rates (CTR) needs to be weighed up against aspects of engagement.
For the next few weeks I will definitely be learning and noticing Gamification as this area of social media continues to grow. What other examples of Gamification can you think of?