Gamification and Game Mechanics
I am getting a little tired– ok, I was instantly tired when the word surfaced– of the application of “gamification” to everything new in social media. In most cases, I see gaming as more of a gimmick. Did the idea of becoming “mayor” attract you to Foursquare? Probably. But why did you stay? Did you stay? At some point there needs to be more. The rush to “gamify” troubles me some because it’s an empty vessel if you base your product’s popularity on this element.
Unless you are selling a game.
Death of the checkin?
Gamification is linked with a lot of the location-based services, in fact the LBS’s are probably the source of this new trend. Which brings me to the concept of the checkin. some time ago, we were treated to a ReadWriteWeb article declaring 2011 to be “The Year the Checkin Died.”
Pause to remember that I consider declaring the death of anything in this space to be the height of idiocy.
But more to the point: the checkin is the most interesting part! It’s the mechanism that powers LBS, not the other way around. It’s location that doesn’t matter so much- you can check in to things that are not places. What about events? (LBS covers that in a way). What about actions? In fact, newer startups like DailyFeats.com are introducing the concept of checkins for things you do, rather than places you are.
From a broader perspective, isn’t a Tweet or Facebook status update actually a checkin?
I would argue that the checkin is not dead, it’s actually a fundamental part of the social web. Yeah, these underlying mechanisms get a bad rap, just as underlying technologies do (how’s RSS doing? Still alive? Yep.)
Secrets and Lies, PR Edition
By the time I get to writing about this, friends and industry colleagues have already spilled much e-ink over the smear campaign on Google that PR agency Buron-Marsteller tried to conduct on behalf of Facebook. My perspective as a longtime PR agency guy; I have been lucky enough to stay away from this shadier side of PR, though I know it exists (and I know some folks I know expressed dismay that others were shocked that this thing goes on). I generally express discomfort at these types of campaigns, but good ones are conducted out in the open. Make yourself known to your target, and be unassailable in your argument (that, certainly, is the hard part, especially when it comes to Facebook and privacy issues, admittedly).
While I do not like the subterfuge, I can see the appeal in spearing a competitor, and have been in the position of testing a client’s willingness to challenge a competitor – but publicly, of course.
Quora Dances on the Line Between Content Credibility and :Promotional Spam
I’ll admit to eyeing Quora, the question and answers site, with bemused detachment. I just didn’t feel like playing the game (no, it’s not a game in the sense stated above). One feature I liked, even though it could be annoying to some posters, is the policing of content to ensure high-quality questions and answers and limiting the self-promotion and spam that plagues other groups and Question/Answer sites. You can argue whether or not it works, but it’s a noble idea.
So- does the news that Quora will allow people to pimp their clients and other companies with which they have (disclosed) relationships mean that users are freer to discuss content they are familiar with due to those relationships, or does it open the floodgates to self-promotional spam. I begrudgingly bet on the latter, but hope for the former.
Scoville: Adoption to Burnout, Approximately 23 Minutes
Sure, we get bombarded with social network tools, sites and products. Sure, we check them all out. Sometimes, we opt out in the face of the tool’s popularity and perceived relevance (like me with Quora). Sometimes, the initial deluge from a tool overwhelms what value the tool might offer. My friend Adam Cohen felt that way about Scoville, a service built on top of Foursquare that is supposed to be geared to help you find one great place a week (but can’t seem to secure its own URL despite having a relatively obscure name- or is that name Robert Scoble link-bait?)