What’s In A Number?

It seems my LinkedIn profile is one of the 5% most viewed in the world. Yours might be, too, since it seems an awful lot of people I know have been mentioning and tweeting this apparent honour – helpfully provided to us by LinkedIn itself.

What’s going on here? My first thought – since I only really use the service intermittently – was “Wow, LinkedIn must have a lot of junk accounts”. Then I clicked on the email they’d sent me – and it turns out the idea is to celebrate the service hitting 200 million members.

Woo hoo!

So their angle is that they want their established members to keep using it, to understand they’re an important part of LinkedIn, and to generally feel valued, perhaps valued enough to upgrade to LinkedIn Premium, where you can get all the details on those tasty views.

Behaviourally speaking, they’ve ticked a few boxes here. Continue reading

Door No.4: Community Games

Today’s entry in our Advent Calendar of Experiments.

The Experiment: Online communities are a terrific research tool, but a lot of the activity in them is very much based on direct questions and self-reported responses – with all the potential for post-rationalisation and inaccuracy that brings.

Luckily, going deeper into these answers is what great qual researchers are trained in. We wondered if it would also be possible to go wider, and develop tools intended to get at peoples’ ability to bear witness to each others’ behaviour, and the capacities of communities for interaction.


Can it replace the discussion guide?

To do this we developed some experimental task formats based on games we’d seen played in “wild” online communities and networks – places like Tumblr, Mumsnet and Digital Spy. We ran these “rad” tasks in a community, in parallel with another community where more “trad” tasks were being run. The rad tasks tried to get participants out of an introspective mode and into a more observing, social mode – moving from “me” to “we” research. How did they do? Continue reading

Uptown Topping Ranking

The gaming site Kotaku brings us news of a Domino’s Pizza game which sits at the intersection of gamification, research. marketing and, er, human resources.

The game is very simple: you have to make a pizza, from dough to delivery box. The game is also – apparently – very difficult to do well at. This is because the game is actually going to be used by Domino’s outlets to hire Pizza makers. As Kotaku points out, this is rather similar to the plot of classic 80s flick The Last Starfighter, where a shoot-em-up videogame turned out to be – gasp! – an alien recruitment tool!

I think I’d rather take the space fighter job. No disrespect to my pizza-making readers.

The game’s utility doesn’t stop there – even if they don’t make the pizza-creating grade players can still order their created pizzas online.

This, to be honest, is where I thought and half-hoped “gamification” would go – games which extended their tentacles into the real world in interesting (or even scary) ways, while grappling with people’s behaviour and choices. While other games make you chase badges, Domino are recruiting, grabbing fresh data, and selling pizzas at the same time.