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Fun, Games and Collaboration: Preparing for WCS

Company Blogs August 23, 2011 By Joshua Asbury Staff


I'm working on my Liferay West Coast Symposium presentation which is meant to discuss how game culture can help build and enhance social collaboration for organizations.  
I use Foursquare, Google+, Facebook, Liferay, Spotify, Twitter, LinkedIn and Last.fm as the basis for my networks.  Each has pros and cons to their UX, but the overall sentiment is that networks need to be fun in order for people to become users and ultimately fans.  
Foursquare accomplishes this via badges and mayorships.  At whatever level and regardless of how meaningless, you are happy when you become a mayor.  Games should allow you to feel like you accomplished something.
Google+ and Twitter allow people to derive a sense of satisfaction when someone takes an action on their posts:  +1'ing something or re-tweeting.  It means you've provided value, and social acceptance is an integral component of the why people continue using the sites.  Additionally, conversations are started via Google+ (less so with Twitter, but it still happens), and there is a feeling of accomplishment when you can offer insight or stir something in others that causes a reaction.  Games should be challenging and satisfying.  
Facebook doesn't provide the same feedback loop, but its overarching concept is connection.  Seeing how your friends, families, co-workers, old classmates, whoever, interact and what they find interesting is why they have been successful.  It's fun to see that my nieces and nephews are going back to school from halfway across the country even though there isn't necessarily a game or competitive concept to these interactions.  Maybe games should just be fun for the sake of fun.
Last.fm and Spotify combine the notion of connection with that of discovery.  What do your friends (real or virtual) find interesting?  How do they impact your tastes and what is presented to you?  What have your listening habits been like for the past year, and what were your tastes like two years ago?  Based on all of this data, recommendations are presented.  Discovery is fun.
In an effort to make my presentation as relevant as possible, I'd be interested to know why you use certain social networks and what you get out of them.  Is there a reason you prefer Gowalla over Foursquare over Google Places over Yelp?  Do some introspection and ask yourself what is fun about Facebook, Twitter, whatever?  What is fun enough to keep you coming back to create and consume content?  What concepts would you like to see added to your company's intranet/extranet site to make you interact with it more?