#gamifyingtwitter – Part 2

I accidently turned Twitter into a game. Here’s how I did it, and what I learnt from the experience (you can read Part 1 here).

As you can see below, it started as just a quick tweet to engage with my fellow classmates. But, after receiving a few positive reactions, I couldn’t leave it there. I had to keep going.

Before long, I had a hashtag (#gamifyingtwitter), and I was setting up an online spreadsheet to keep track of the scores. It was at this point that I realised I’d gone too far, but lets go back to the start.

The unit that I’m studying is called ‘Gamified Media’. We’ve been looking at how game elements have been added to many parts of our lives, sometimes without us even realising it.

The three key gaming elements that I included in my Twitter “game” were:

  • Points
  • Leaderboard
  • Badges

Let’s take a closer look at these three elements.

Points

As I mentioned in Part 1, I’m a competitive person, and throughout my life there have been many times where I have either chased after, or offered up some imaginary points.

Leaderboard

When I put the first post up offering points, there were a number of people who participated. Later that week I posted a leaderboard of who had received the most points.

That is when things ramped up.

According to Sergey Snegirev, leaderboards are effective in gamification for a few reasons.

  1. Humans are motivated by competition. We like to compete and identify how our abilities compare to others.
  2. People like receiving public recognition. When a leaderboard is released everyone wants to know who is on the top.

One thing I learnt about leaderboards, is not to put up the results of all participants.
There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Exclusivity. If the leaderboard only contains a small portion of the participants, then it highlights the achievements of those few and they stand out amongst the others.
  2. Shaming those who are at the bottom. If you release all the names, it not only highlights those that are winning, but also those that are losing. Some people will be turned off from participating if their low results will be published.

Kahoot does this really well, it only shows the top three scores at the end of each quiz.

Badges

When I was younger, I attended a scouts event with a friend from school. We learnt how to tie knots. It clashed with something else I had on in my week, so it was the only time I went, but I was fascinated with the badges that the scouts had earned and proudly displayed on their sleeves.

The badges:

  • showed that they had put time and effort to attain certain skills
  • it validated their accomplishments
  • it also set them apart from others who had not yet earned the same badge

These same aspects can be applied to digital badges and is why they can be so effective in gamification.

See below for a response from one of the participants on receiving their badge.

Clare felt “accomplished” after recieving the badge, and so much so she shared it with her followers via a tweet.

What did I learn?

Whilst it was a bit of fun to begin with, the time it took to keep track of points and update the leaderboard became a little too much for me to manage. Thankfully, the initial buzz of #gamifyingtwitter wore off after a few weeks and I eventually stopped posting as less people were engaged.

Images
Points‘ by Sigmund (Unsplash License)

All other media owned by Matt Hill

Can gaming make us healthier?
#gamifyingtwitter – Part 1
#gamifyingtwitter – Part 2