For this second journal entry, we were asked to watch a video (link below) and then reflect on it. Here are my thoughts:
BUILDING ON THE SOCIAL LAYER
Seth Priebatsch is a twenty-one year drop out from Princeton University who is the creator of SCVNGR, a social gaming site. He talks about how the last ten years of media use have created the social layer by using Facebook for people to connect with one another. He feels the “construction is over” but there is still lots to explore. He says the next phase we are entering is the game level whereby social media is used to influence people’s behaviour. The tools will influence how the game layer is used and what we ultimately do with it.
During the presentation, he says there are four dynamics needed to build this game layer. As Seth describes each dynamic he tells you how it is used in a game situation and how it is used for good in a real life situation. The first dynamic is the appointment dynamic. In order to be successful in this layer one must return at a certain time in order to get a specific action. The example he used here was “happy hour,” where a patron comes back at a certain time in order to receive a price break on food and drink. His real life situation was the use of glow caps as a reminder for patients to take their medication on time. The second dynamic is influence and status. This is the ability of one person to change the behaviour of another person through social pressure. The examples used here were the use of credit cards ( i.e., a black card hold more status than a gold card) and school (higher grades reflect smarter people). The third dynamic is the progression dynamic, where success is measured and displayed through a process of completing certain tasks. The example used was the progress bar in Linked In, to show the user how close they are to completing the initial sign up process. The fourth dynamic he discussed was the communal discovery. This is where the the whole community comes together to solve a challenge, but the game becomes more controlling than the end goal. His example here was the McDonald’s monopoly game where everyone becomes obsessed looking for the Boardwalk.
After watching the video, I sort of had an ah-ha moment. I never really gave it much thought about the outcomes of these social “games.” When he talked about levelling up, I instantly thought of the game Skylanders. My son plays it and the challenge is about collecting enough coins to have the character level up with additional strengths and powers. It provides him with a need to succeed and is super excited when he gets there. The downfall with media games is that they provide too much brain stimulation and I find it hard sometimes to unwind from it. There have been some deaths in the last couple of years due to video game misuse (Diablo, 2012). The obsession of getting the prize or end result seems to be more important than the real life they live in. For example, there was a family in South Korea who got hooked on raising a baby in a virtual world that they left their own child as they went to internet cafes and the child eventually died from starvation(Tran, 2010). I see the effects it has on people and personally, I don’t like it.
I agree that going forward we are leaning towards a more electronic future-but is it for good? As stated above, I see more issues with controlling people and having them become more introverted. By this I mean that people become less social face to face. How will people react or deal with real life situations in person? A computer lets you hide behind it-faceless or fantasy-like. After the initial viewing of the video, I looked into a better understanding of this game layer. What I did find was another video on Tedx by someone called Jane McGonigal, a game designer and Berkley graduate. Her presentation was more about the qualities gamers possess (they are inspired to collaborate, stick with a problem, get up after failing and they try again). She also goes on to say that gamers like goals and if directed, the outcomes could be great and world changing. Having said all that, I’m not so clear on how she is going to make that happen.
I have thought about the use of a game layer in dentistry, but to my knowledge (and internet search), none exists. I could say that the progression dynamic exits in dentistry when children are asked to brush their teeth daily and then they get a sticker on the calendar and then a reward at the end of the month-but even that is a stretch. I don’t like the manipulation of people. All I say to our patients is “floss the teeth you want to keep.” It’s the truth. If you don’t floss, you’ll lose your teeth due to periodontal issues and decay. It is that simple and it is their choice. I think that is what people like-to be validated, motivated, heard and respected. We are all unique in our own ways. If we are controlled, we will all be the same living in different spaces of the world. To me that sounds like we are robots, not humans. This whole thought provoking process will make me think twice next time I fill out something online and look at the progress bar. For every action is a reaction-it is our choice what we do with it.
Diablo 3 Death: Teen dies after playing game for 40 hours straight. (2012). In The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 20, 2012, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/diablo-3-death-chuang-taiwan-_n_1683036.html
McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world. [Video]. Retrieved on October 17, 2012, from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html
Priebatsch, S. (2010). The game layer on top of the the world. [Video]. Retrieved on October 12, 2012, http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/Seth_priebatsch_the_game_layer_on_top_of_the_world.htm
Tran, M. (2010). Girl starved to death while parents raised virtual child in online game. In The Guardian. Retrieved October, 20, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/korean-girl-starved-online-game