Say no to gamification

Gamification – how it easily rules you

gamification tile groutYou really want a way to free yourself from one of the greatest human burdens?

Learn to identify and resist / refuse the phenomenon called gamification (which could easily be a euphemism for “human control,” or “create willing participants…” etc.)

A couple years ago – local business owner and creator of the upcoming Propeller FestivalAaron Price, penned a piece about gamification (“to gamify”). It was specifically in regards to an event. You can read the article in its entirety at the end of this post.

Wikipedia generalizes gamification as “human desires” for socializing, learning, mastery, competition, achievement, status, self-expression, altruism, or closure. We also see it as a human flaw. Like why the need to finish the last two bites of your sandwich even though you’re no longer hungry.

Gamification may play a role in helping you internalize a way to reach goals, such as for work or fitness (hello fitbit). However, gamification has now infected the entire marketing and advertising industry. We’ve touched on this in the past – with those stupid rewards cards (points, levels, unlock bonuses! Yay!)

Same is obvious with social networking (badges, likes, thumbs up, and all other “counters” of success…)

It’s so prevalent – because most humans don’t even realize how they’re the ones being “gamed.”

gamification suckers in america

Gamification – learn to identify and resist!

We have a new mindset towards this blatant attempt to coerce you and prey on your human condition to meet goals and reach plateaus. Ignore and avoid.

say no to gamificationFirst step is to hone your ability to identify a gamification system. Anything that has points, rewards or bonuses to “unlock” is something you really shouldn’t participate in. Especially if you have to “sign up” for something. Because they will NOT stop pestering you. Always be asking “cui bono?”

While you will be convinced you were “rewarded” with something – it’s nothing more than a pittance or just a fleeting feeling of psychological satisfaction that you’ve actually “earned” something. In the end – who benefits? The people who made that “game” you’re playing.

If you’re going to “gamify” anything – it should be your own game with levels and rewards that you GIVE YOURSELF. Like money you can spend if you lose a certain amount of weight. Or a trip you can take if you go a year without smoking, etc.

Once corporations get their sticky fingers in the gamification pot – it’s time to watch your back!

See Aaron’s insightful article about some ways gamification works:

How to Avoid #Hashtag Pitfalls: 7 Steps to Gamify Your Next Event

By Aaron Price

The only current way to track social activity at events is the hashtag, yet hashtags are misused, misunderstood, and misspelled. For event organizers it should be simple — tell attendees your hashtag, hit cruise control and watch the tweets fly. However, what many people don’t understand is that solely using a hashtag can lead to minimal interaction and risks being a distraction. In fact, over 5,000 tweets are tweeted every second making it very easy for an attendee to get distracted and for your event to get lost in the mix.

So how do we solve the riddle of the hashtag? Gamification offers an event a simple yet impactful way to motivate and focus audience behavior while giving organizers a firmer grip on their event’s social media impact. Giving attendees the ability to compete and collaborate with their peers for real-world rewards using game mechanics incentivizes engagement and squeezes the hashtag for all of its social media juice.

How to use Gamification to solve your #hashtag #problems:

1 –Keep your Hashtag Simple.
People have trouble creating legible sentences on their phones as it is, so giving an audience a long, hard-to-replicate hashtag complicates the issue further. By using a short (Twitter’s rules were created to keep us concise after all), easy to spell, unique hashtag you avoid hashtag misfires and make your results much easier to track.

2 – Use a Tool
Since there will always be a percentage of people struggling to find and spell the right hashtag, why not give your attendees a tool that auto-populates it for them? Getting rid of human error will give you an accurate reading on just how much engagement took place at your event and let your attendees focus on the conversation.

3 – Incentivize the Right Behavior
Don’t just highlight random tweets or what came up in your search feed first. Reward the most talked about people and ideas instead. By picking the most retweeted comments or photos you reward those with the best ideas and encourage people to share better content.

4 – Reward your Social Media All-Stars On AND Offline
It’s cool to get retweeted by the event organizer, but you know what’s even cooler: receiving real-world recognition for participation. Bridge the gap between online shout-outs and the real world by rewarding your best conversation driver with a prize. Prizes can be face time with a keynote speaker or a VIP badge, or even something to take home – regardless, the social impact of connecting online behavior with offline rewards is extremely positive.

5 – Choose the Right Prize
Choosing the right prize will always depend on the event but using the SAPS acronym can help guide you to the wisest choice. Listed in most impactful to least impactful:
STATUS- a prize that socially separates the winner from the rest of the pack.
ACCESS- an award that gives users the opportunity to interact in a private or special way with your company or event leaders.
POWER- a prize that unlocks special powers. This could be the opportunity to moderate a panel or even change the rules of the game for others. And of course,
STUFF- yes, it’s that simple. People love stuff! It’s why swag bags exist and it’s why your most socially active attendees will keep the tweets coming.

6 – Build Technology into Your Event
Technology should be used to drive interaction, not just as a tool to organize the conversation. The same tool you’re using to drive interaction should be used to kick off the event, announce winners and stoke conversation through Q&A’s, polls and surveys. This will help you gauge the temperature of the room and provide a great idea of what’s working and what’s not.

7 – Create Evangelists
The idea of gamifying an event may be new to some, so be sure to have some ambassadors on your side to help spur the audience on. There should always be a handful of attendees familiar with the concept to lead by example and get the audience comfortable with the concept.

Gamification has been proven to be effective in focus attendee behavior and can truly elevate the ideas and networking at your next event. As long as you’re keeping your message simple, focusing your audience’s attention, and keeping it fun, you’ll have what it takes to #WinOverYourAudience.

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