Icing on the cake, cherry on the cake… There are probably a lot of different ways in the world to explain the delight of adding something good (icing, cherry, gamification) to something already good (a cake, SCN).
This is how I feel about gamification on SCN. Happy Birthday SCN! I hope you like the gamification present 😉
When we launched gamification in April 2013, many of you said that this was a new SCN, and I was just blown away. I knew gamification was fun, and great. I knew it would lead to many positive changes in the community, but I did not expect that our members would see this as a major, positive change in the community.
What is gamification?
Well, for those who are really not “in the know” yet, I will give the definition one more time: Gamification is the use of game elements such as points, scores, badges, ranking, etc in order to provide meaningful information, feedback, and drive behaviors.
Like any good thing such as good food and a good ingredient, gamification will only taste good if it is not too present, not too strong, and added and consumed responsibly. For a community member, this means: Play around if you like, go on a “mission” to earn as many missions as possible, but do it well and with good thoughts in mind: contribute responsibly. For a community manager like me, this means: Add missions that are interesting and valuable to the community and keep quality in mind in order to drive the positive behaviors that everyone expects from a professional community like SCN.
SCN thrives with content, good quality content. The community tells us what content is valuable so that we can curate it to all members. Gamification was brought as a tool (not a magic ingredient!) to help us increase contributions, engagement around content, and reward quality content
The results on SCN
The numbers are very encouraging: In the first month within the launch, activity on SCN increased by 400% and engagement around content almost doubled (as reported in my blog). We are still seeing sustainable growth of activity and community engagement, as the graph below attests.
Gartner reports that “by 2014, 80% of Current Gamified Applications Will Fail to Meet Business Objectives Primarily Due to Poor Design”. But I don’t think this applies to our community, does it? 😉
None of this would have been achieved without a team hard at work: Audrey Stevenson and Sean Yang who work long hours with me to keep up with the enthusiasm that gamification has generated; and the recent addition of Jason Cao to the gamification core team. All of this with the valuable guidance from Jeanne Carboni.
Enhanced SCN reality
SCN has been gamified since 2004, very shortly after its inception, but the recent addition of missions and badges has made a difference. I think there will be a before and after extensive gamification in the community. Points and badges are tools to showcase expertise and are used to assess content reputation, but they are also a way to identify personalities and hidden gems that we may not know of. I really love how the gamification module is giving me additional information about SCN members (in no particular order):
- What achievements they are most proud of (see the “Me In Three” feature in your user profile, reputation tab)
- What else they like doing, something I may not have expected (such as “Wow, I knew Jürgen L is a great moderator but I didn’t realize how active he was on so many levels!” See his profile and badges)
- How they can still surprise me and prove that I will never know everything about the community (see who so far has earned the Thought Leader badge)
- If they are coming to SAP TechEd (see Audrey’s blog)
How are you experiencing gamification and how would you call it a milestone for SCN? I look forward to your comments!