Gamification and Content Publishers: Beyond "Consumption" to Interactivity
As content publishers have spent the last decades navigating the transition from print to online, today they are struggling with another transition: from content "consumption" to interactivity.
Every day I read about someone "consuming" a story, a video, a blog post, a snippet. I get it, really I do—we can't talk about "reading" anymore when there are so many different types of media to "consume." And it's a step to the huge land of opportunity that exists online. But I'm sorry, it just doesn't cut it.
Because the Internet is about so much more than "consumption." It's about interactivity, as everyone who ever ventures into that terrain knows—and that means all of us, on a daily basis. When content publishers have finally made the transition from content consumption to full interactivity, they will have stepped into that brilliant new land of opportunity where all things are possible, digitally speaking.
Enter gamification—a phrase still so new that my spell-check auto-corrects to "ramification"—but not so new that the path to site gamification doesn't exist.
Gamification—the implementation of the techniques and mechanics that make gaming so powerful, so addictive, so "sticky"—has also been around long enough to draw some criticism. For die-hard gamers, using games techniques for purposes other than the game itself is low—like, a total sellout, dude. And if it's done poorly—and yes, it often is—the use of incentives, points, leaderboards, and rewards can become, let's face it, so done. Not another site with a leaderboard! Spare me.
But the parts of gaming that go beyond points and scores—the mystery, the story-telling, the challenges and the accomplishments—well, they already exist in the realm of content publishing, don't they? Who better knows how to tell a story, tease an interest, ignite enthusiasm, tap into audience passions? All in a day's work for a publisher.
Gamification is the challenge and the opportunity of this decade for publishers wishing to stay relevant; it is the tool that will keep their audiences connected and engaged; it is as vital, as important as video was years ago when it was nascent—but more, much more. It is the key to a fully interactive, fully immersive site experience, and as such it cannot be ignored.
The train is leaving the station. Smart publishers will be on it.