I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a massive fan of gamification. Not only do I think it drastically increases participation, energy, and adoption of ideas/concepts/programs. I also feel like it helps sustain individuals and keep them coming back for more. Gamification is the reason people keep coming back to applications like FourSquare. If you think about it – what’s unique about FourSquare (recently rebranded Swarm I believe)? It’s a relatively pedestrian concept: here’s an app that lets you check in to retail, dining, or specialty locations and share that news with your friends. What’s so hip about that? It aces the ‘adoption’ test though, because it filled a gap in the market and was something that consumers could get behind and derive value from (even if only social status/recognition). Hence, it was downloaded a couple million times and reached a tipping point. But what made it sustain that momentum?
That, my friends, is the gamification element. And the insanely easy thing about their strategy? It is provided at no cost. The badging that they have built into the app is genius, and entices users to want to continue to use the app (thereby promoting the app and creating a snowball effect where even more potential users look into downloading/becoming regulars on the app). Who would have thought that simply unlocking a virtual, (financially) meaningless badge because I had checked into my 25th airport was so cool? Perhaps it’s the humblebrag in us all. Perhaps it’s just a way to occupy our minds. Either way, the addition of gamification can’t be denied when considering FourSquare’s success.
But gamification should not stop with social media/apps. It should be everywhere. It should be in meetings. It should be in our schools. It should be in our families. It should really be everywhere in our culture. I sincerely think you’d see a lot more engaged, active, and happy society. Which is why I’ll continue to bang the gamification drum and support anyone who is trying to use it.
Til Next Time,