The five types of game mechanics, as relates to social media.
Gamification, the application of game mechanics to change consumer behaviour, is hot stuff these days – although not to be confused with Game Theory as described in the prisoner’s dilemma. Here are five ways game mechanics can, and have, be applied to social media services and platforms:
- Collecting things. Humans have a primal instinct to collect and display. Offline, think about boy scout badges or Olympic pins. Online, we have our Twitter widgets, Facebook fan pages, and Flickr photo albums.
- Earning points. These define achievement and translate into social standing. Offline, it’s how you earn a free airplane flight. Online, it’s the number of fans, friends, followers, or subscribers to your content. We reinforce the credibility of points by watching lists of top blogs, top tweeters, even top egos.
- System feedback. Offline, it’s the experience of shopping at an Apple store or your car accelerating when you press the gas. Online, it’s not comments, replies, or trackbacks (those feed into points exchanges), but response from the system itself. How complete is your LinkedIn profile? How much Plurk karma do you have? Do you have Facebook for Blackberry installed yet?
- Value exchanges. Successful interactions. Offline, it’s us inviting each others kids to their birthday parties, or paying it forward to strangers. Online, it’s the process of interactions: Posting wall-to-wall. Sending a mini-ninja or martini glass. People “liking” your shared items or Twitter’s @ messages.
- Customization and personalization. User-created barriers to exit. Offline, it’s the color you chose to paint your house, the case for your iPhone, the stickers on your laptop. Online, it’s the extensive profile information you entered, the photos you uploaded, or the background picture that says something about your interests.
Interesting stuff. I heard a creative director in Toronto had a chart filled up with all the different game mechanics that they could think of and challenged their teams to incorporate as many as possible into their thinking.
via Peter Kim at Applying game mechanics to social media.
Also of interest, a presentation on the Game Layer by my colleague and Creative Technologist at Tribal DDB, Barry Lachapelle.