gamification, a must have for engagement

Is engagement a result of listening to conversation? If you ever see the participation curve, aka "power law of participation" by Ross Mayfield (2006), you may know that reading (a post, a tweet) is the lower threshold. High engagement is coming with collaboration. Maybe it's time to think about your social TV strategy.

Picture of the post

Power law of participation

In 2006, Ross Mayfield stated in his blog:

"The vast majority of users will not have a high level of engagement with a given group, and most tend to be free riders upon community value. But patterns have emerged where low threshold participation amounts to collective intelligence and high engagement provides a different form of collaborative intelligence"

He coined the term "The Power Law of Participation" which is shown in his diagram below


It means that if you want to engage your viewers on your show, you cannot let them being passive. Despite most of them are passively watching the show, and they don't want to be disturbed (maybe they are just sleeping in front of the TV, you have done that) you should give to active ones some tools or reason to be more engaged.

TV is entertainment, so is gaming

TV or any other broadcasted event has some particularities. Usually, it's a quality device, better screen, better and comfy installation for the viewer, and, most important, shared content.

Shared content because, when you are watching a linear show, you are never alone. So you can share with other viewers and maybe compete with them if there is a gamification process.

There are different manners to share with others. Currently, the focus for TV thought sharing is on twitter.

But posting a comment on a popular TV show on twitter, it's entering in a crowded room where everybody is talking, and start talking with the others.

Everybody is talking, nobody is listening. Who will read your tweet in the middle of a continuous flow?

The fact is that viewers are using their smartphone or tablet in front of the show and the don't pay attention to the main screen, which remains obviously the TV.

Quality vs quantity

Less quantity and better quality is the key. If you want that the messages are read, you must improve their quality, so hire a community manager to manage them.

It doesn't mean that user message are obliterated, it means that if a viewer writes messages and he wants them to be read, he must also improve their quality. So the community manager will promote his message and it will be read by all viewers.

The game is a response to attention deficit

Children can't stay still 10 minutes but can remain focused on a video game during hours.

If you want your viewers to stay focused on your message, it's better to let them play a game at the same time.

Gaming on a live web session

As an example, let's do apply a gamification enhancement on a serious webtv show.

I did the work on a show I participed in, with a French broadcaster who has a streamed web TV. The broadcaster is BFM Business and the show is "startup academie". It's a contest between startup who present their ideas or products and the public votes to elminate one of them.

Currently, the website is like this:


The stream and a Twitter timeline aside, with the official account of the broadcaster.

where is the added value? Honnestly, I don't know.

Now, imagine that this timeline is not the twitter one, but a managed one.

First, it has many more tweets sources, using the hashtag to filter them, and it is moderated, so there is no risk of inapropriate message.

And you can involve the viewer with a game. I call it "business angel academy" and the purpose is to play the business angel. Investing virtual money on your prefered project, you also have to give your opinion on different aspects of the projects. This opinion is confronted with the average opinion of the other gamers (the market here) and a note is attribued to each project.

You can have points thru your note and money thru your investment. There are many rules I won't describe here, but here is what it looks like:


and of course a leaderboard at the end to help you scoring, see your evolution and reword the gamers

Important considerations

The game is an add-on for the show. It is managed by the community manager and invites the gamer to play at a very precise moment. His attention has to remain focused on the main show because it will help to win more points an rewards.

It is a game thread, gamers are connected and they have to come every week to cumulate the maximum of points or virtual cash.

Competition could be turned into cooperation mode or solo mode. Depending of the targer of the producer.

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