Twitter: Blue Ticks and Overjustification Effect.

Screenshot 20221106 090152 Twitter Blue Ticks and Overjustification Effect

So. Twitter is a clusterfuck right now isn’t it?

However, it does serve as an interesting example of one of the key issues gamification faces when done badly (99% of the time) – Overjustification Effect. Put simply, this is seen when the reward for doing a task becomes more important than completing the task itself.

I suffered terribly from this when I was a “power user” on Twitter. I was playing the Twitter game, trying to collect followers and likes, needing constant approval and validation. I was part of a leaderboard for my field, I was using power sharing and networking sites and all sorts of things – anything to get more followers and more likes. Read More ...

6 rules for surviving and enjoying social media.

Phone 292994 1920 6 rules for surviving and enjoying social media

1. Don’t believe everything you see or read.

Social media has no filter, so anyone can post almost anything and they don’t always post the truth. From politicians to socialites, very often what is put out is tweaked in some ways be it the facts or the flawless texture of a models skin. Be alert to it.   

2. Do your research.

This goes hand in hand with the first rule. Sadly you can take everything at face value. It takes very little time to fact check, but use reliable news sources and websites, not gossip rags or other social media sources.

3. Don’t over share.

If you wouldn’t tell your gran don’t tell social media publically. Public social media sites like twitter, Tik Tok or Instagram are great places to share what’s on your mind, your latest talents and so on. It’s fun and can be very rewarding. However, some things just don’t need to be shared to the world, doing so can come back and bite you in the future. Many celebrities have fallen foul of drunken tweeting one day and losing their job the next!   

4. Do use the report features.

The report features on social media are their for a reason. If you see things that are inappropriate, harmful, hurtful etc, report them. It is anonymous and there to protect everyone.

5. Don’t obsess.

It can be all to easy to get hooked on social media. That’s how all the apps are designed, they want your attention for as long as possible as that’s how they make money. If you find yourself unable to sleep because you are worried you might miss something, or are anxious because you only got 1 like, it may be time to take a break or even seek some advice and help.   

6. Do have fun.

Social media is meant to be fun, so use it in a way you enjoy. It may be just reading the latest happenings in your fandom, it may be sharing your singing or photography skills etc. You can make good friends through sensible use of social media and have a great time.   Be sensible, be safe, be alert and when it stops being fun, take a break.

The “Little Piggy” Communications Test

Pig 1535532496 The 8220 Little Piggy 8221 Communications Test

Do you remember the old poem, “This Little Piggy”?

This Little Piggy poem

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed at home,
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy went…
“Wee wee wee” all the way home…

Well, this can hold one of the keys to good communications with users and clients…

When you communicate with someone, especially if you feel you are doing something that will help them – such as providing gamified solutions, you have to consider what they want and need.  You have to put yourself in their shoes and offer something in a way that resonates with them.

Consider the following two sentences.

We can build you a great solution for XYZ because we have the best developers and we know what you need.


You seem to have a problem with XYZ and it must be causing you real headaches. Do you feel that a quality solution would help? Read More ...

Snakes and Ladders: Gamification Hell or Heaven?

Snakes and ladders1 Snakes and Ladders Gamification Hell or Heaven

I recently made a very strong statement on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn about snakes and ladders and whether it was a game..

Snakes and Ladders is not a game and we should stop using it in gamification and serious games.

Obviously, it was designed to provoke some comment, but boy was I surprised with the level of interaction I got over the three channels. The LinkedIn conversation may still be going on!

As expected, there were those who agreed and those who did not. Some were using Snakes and Ladders in training very successfully, others agreed that it was a pile of pants.

My justification was as follows: Snakes and Ladders gives the player no agency, no control of the outcome. The player has no influence at all over how the game will play. There are no challenges and no skill needed either.

However, those who felt this was unfair pointed out that as a mechanism for delivering content, it was a great platform. Attaching external values and storytelling to the ups and downs of the game were easy metaphors for many real-life experiences. The unexpected rises and falls of a career for instance.

What was more interesting, in the end, was that the discussion slowly turned into a more philosophical debate about the nature of games.

Lusory Attitude Is Back in the Spotlight

I have spoken a lot about the nature of play, highlighting that play is subjective and contextual and relies on “Lusory Attitude“, ie a playful state of mind. It seems that the same is true of games. Snakes and Ladders may not seem like a game to an adult, but to a child it is magical. They approach it with a lusory attitude, never noticing they have no control. They are absorbed in the competition, the story being played out as the climb ladders and slide down snakes.

I was reminded that anything can feel like a game if you approach it with the right frame of mind. Our job as gamification designers is to create experiences that help to frame the solution in a way that allows our users to approach and engage with that lusory attitude. A narrative that carries a shallow game mechanic, a series of extra challenges that make the core delivery mechanic more interesting, fake choice that makes the user feel they have some level of agency and control etc etc etc.

Is it gamification heaven or hell? It depends how you use it, just don’t be lazy and use it as the only nod towards games in your solution!

Social Media

The other nice lesson was about the nature of social media – it works best when you remember the social bit 😉

Below are links to the various conversations – there are some real nuggets of gold in there, thanks to everyone who got involved!

The LinkedIn Conversation

The Facebook Conversation

The Twitter Conversation

Keeping Children Safe in the Internet Age

Age ratings Keeping Children Safe in the Internet Age

The world children are growing up in now is very different to the world their parents grew up in. Whilst many of the dangers may have stayed the same, the way they present themselves is often beyond the scope of understanding of many parents out there because they have no relevant personal experience to give it all context.

What I want to offer here is a little bit of advice about keeping children safe online and in games, based on my personal experience covering all of those various angles I have mentioned! This is not a definitive list of advice, but I hope it can help some of you. Read More ...