As I tweeted earlier:
And I learned a new word. Go me! Where’s my badge? Have I unlocked a new level? Gamification
Gamification (strangely pronounced GAMEification) is the idea of treating business, training, work or play as a game with a set of rewards. I’d come across the concept but not the word, and it was this BBC report on SXSW that introduced me to it. I like the fact that Grumpy Cat is the most popular thing in SXSW, and I think the idea that SXSW is sort of a gamification of finding venture capital and new tech as a great point. But the apps where you gain some silly star or badge are condescending and annoying, like the ‘tick and a star!’ I once heard some 4x4DrivebyMom annointing a Princess-dressed Jessica in Hampstead once.
SXSW does seem to have a religious zeal in the same way TED is strange in it’s cult-like self-perpetuating belief system. I do wonder who is trying to convince who at these things? Like some mix of evangelical church, PR puff sessions, infomercials and self-delusion/belief. The burn cycle in full effect – everyone talking at each other but no-one listening? Pitching to each other? Another circle of hell? Presided over by The Grumpy Cat Pope.
But the stuff about Yappem made me worried: this idea of bribing people to recommend stuff to their friends isn’t new, but as I get deluged by people who work in the industry recommending the SAME comedy show it triggers the same response that I’m guessing will get more and more familiar. In this world of endlessly shared but factually wrong Facebook memes: cynicism and skepticism.
The Cake Is A Lie, and I don’t care if it’s a badge in Foursquare you can keep it. It’s nigh on impossible to get anyone to actually listen for free stuff anyway but in the future that hurdle will be much higher. As the noise ratio isn’t just from the traditional channels and a few Facebook games, it’s going to be your whole social network gaming Minority Report style to get some benefits from their friends. Yes monetizing or ‘gaming’ your social network? That’s as horrible as it sounds…coming to an app near you.