Gamification

Gamification.

It’s all about gamification – the future of all digital communications and of anything social resides in understanding that all outcomes can best be fulfilled by creating gaming engagements that lead to them. One day you might vote or fill out your tax forms through some sort of gaming platform – imagine determining the government of your country through a version of Angry Birds (might get better results) or ending an argument with a friend via a special version of Halo (good for the passive-aggressive types). In short, get with the gaming platform or be left out of the game….

 

Video.

It’s all about video – the future of all digital communications and of anything social resides in understanding that everything can be expressed in video – in fact, will be expressed in video. Video replaces the need for text that people don’t read; it’s engaging and interactive; it creates immediate emotion.  Live video via new platforms will replace Twitter and be more impactful. Video will help you make better decisions about your life. Video will help you shop. In short, get with the video platform or be left in the static dead world.

 

Rich Content.

It’s all about content – rich content – the future of all digital communications and of anything social resides in understanding that content is the building block of the digital world. From cereal to cars to computers, the connective tissue between products and people is rich content. Content drives understanding; content demands to be shared; content is engaging. We live our lives through rich content. In short, get with the content platform or be left in the world of the boring.

 

Data

It’s all about data. Digital is data…full stop. The future of all digital communications and of anything social resides in understanding data. One-to-one communications is what digital channels were created for. Without data there can be no sharing, no real engagement, no one- to-one. The full promise of the digital age will be realized through data. Your needs will be met before you even know you have a need; nothing extraneous will ever distract you again; you will never again see anything other than what it is known that you like. In short, get with the data platform or be irrelevant.

I recently heard all of the above expressed as serious points of view by panelists in a conference I attended on advertising.

I really should add one other view shared mostly by the game/video/content champions: Anything that smells like Direct Marketing (whatever that is) is wrong, bad, old, not relevant.

What I found interesting was that the views expressed above were from people whose companies specialized in those areas – in other words, their livelihoods depended on selling those services.

What I found more interesting was that no one addressed any insight into people’s needs other than to present cases proving why we all want only video, content, games or data, and with the exception of the data guy, to agree that Direct Marketing (whatever…) was not wanted by anyone.

There was no representative from any of the serious digital channels on the panels I saw and, even more interesting, no one really mentioned them – other than in a case context where the channel was mentioned merely as a vehicle for the platform being discussed – a platform on a platform if you will.

To be fair – I agree that in and of themselves the various channels are just that – channels – and it’s what we put in them that make them powerful.  By themselves they are merely advanced pipes.  However, they clearly play a role in our usage, our needs fulfillment and in our understanding of what might come next – and while my crystal ball is cloudy – what might come next is worth a thought or two….

Obviously all had a right to sell their wares – I really don’t mean to be so critical – but I do think there is a critical point to be made here and one that I have soapboxed on before – and no doubt will again.

We have lost the human touch.

By that I mean – we have become obsessed with our own narrow little paths to monetization – driven by analysts and investors to believe that every new idea heralds the new messianic age of communications.

So we watch Angry Birds take off (I admit I was addicted) and like a flock of hungry birds we take off after it and everything becomes games and gamification.  Same for video and content – by the way, will someone explain to me why content is a stand-alone – doesn’t video and gaming and tweets and whatever all revolve around content??? Whatever….

So commercially or personally, do I send my wife a gamified message on her birthday? Or a video? Or do I create some rich content site – or maybe I’ll take her to dinner….

My point being – I could do all of it – and at some time probably have done all – but without the dinner (analog) I have missed it all.

Bottom line – get back to understanding people. I can’t imagine trying to dissect an understanding of the growing global protest movement by analyzing games – listen to what people are saying and doing. Watch them behave and act on their desires. Get real.

One of the great visionaries put it best…listen:

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”
Marshall McLuhan

Have a POV – and all of the above are valid and powerful – but they are no replacement for perception and empathy.

If we are to really make our digital world powerful and not a silo of POVs we need to really start paying attention.

Let me just share with you one POV that I found to be relevant by someone who was considered to be an expert in his time:

“While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.
Lee De Forest

And by the way, Bill Gates had some doozies too…as did many – share any you know – please.

But as we rush toward the next latest and greatest, we might do well to remember — in this week when we have all been moved by Steve Jobs’s death and inspired by his life, what he said:

“… One of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
Steve Jobs

What’s your view?

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