Applying Game Mechanics to Social Software – BayChi talk summary

I went to the monthly BayChi talk Tuesday 4/8 and was pleasantly surprised by the first speaker Amy Jo Kim, ShuffleBrain who spoke about Putting the Fun in Functional: Applying Game Mechanics to Social Software. I had not realized that she had done some much in the space of community and social networks.

Many of the words we use in the social space today seem to have multiple ways to interpret them i.e. games, social context. At the beginning of the talk she would define key terms so that during the talk you had her meaning. one of these was social context : player created content, social infrastructure, sharing tools.

From a psychological stand point games have patterns of reinforcement (theory schedule of reinforcement) and this is important aspect of gaming.

Flow as hokie as is sounds is the balance between challenge and the users skill. This adds to interest and fun of the game. Too challenging and you give up. Too easy and you don’t play the game because its boring.

The next section was defining game mechanics and applying them to social applications She had tons of examples and I wont be able to do them all justice here. 🙂

Game mechanics
* Collections – show me your stuff. You can easily see this on facebook
* Points – users get points for accomplishing things. In games its easy to see. For social network example is how many stories you dugg.
* Feedback – how are you doing. accelerates mastery and adds fun.
* Exchange – structured interaction which can be implicit or explicit. Explicit would be add a friend vs. implicit are comments that you might post on someones blog – there becomes a social expectation that they comment on your blog.
* Customization – changing a character to the attributes you want and on my space complete customization of the page.

She mentioned that some of her other talks were available on slideshare. I did find one that was a bit more detail on some of the aspects she spoke about.

Check back on the baychi podcast section in a week or so and watch the podcast.