From the Archive: Gamification

Here’s one of my old posts from my older Ruby on Rails based blog site. I was rummaging around in my old archive and dug this one up…

Gamification has been a buzzword on the net for some time now. Can’t remember when I first heard the term used. May have been when listening to the Think Vitamin podcast; think that it was this episode.

I was also listening to the TechStuff podcast last weekend and they had a podcast dedicated to the topic. Whilst listening to this podcast last weekend I was kind of inspired, which is odd as I was carrying out the weekly chore of ironing at the time!

I jotted down some thoughts and ideas at the time. However I feel that it’s one of those occasions where you have what seems to be a great idea at the time and then turns out to be a really crappy idea when you wake-up the next morning. I thought of using gamification principles to drive traffic to my personal site and to keep people coming back. Seemed a good idea at the time but now seems a rather lame idea.

In essence my thoughts were to give readers of my blog ‘points’ if they followed me on Twitter, submitted a genuine comment, followed a particular link, FaceBook ‘liked’ a particular post, etc. These points would either be displayed on the site in the form of a leaderboard or by using a badge system. I even thought that I might be able to get a few media types who I know to produce some nice badges for me. But, as I say, the next day, in the cold light of day it seemed a rather daft idea.

Stupid idea or not, it’s not stopped me from carrying out a little research about gamification every time I go online. Found a rather interesting post about gamification at the UX Magazine┬ásite.

Can’t remember how I came across the BigDoor site, whether it was via the TechStuff podcast or on one blog post or other. It seems like a very fast way of adding gamification elements to a web site but my concern is where is all of the data that’s being collected actually stored and how is it used? I know that if I create my own server-side code to support gamification on my site any user data will be stored in my backend database and it won’t be sold to any third party. I don’t have that same feeling about using someone else’s services.

Anyway, I”ve rambled on for long enough. My research into gamification will continue, be it the ethics behind it or the technical implementation. I will surely blog about it in the future.

*UPDATE* Just wanted to mention the Practical Ethics post on the ethics of gamification.