Gamification Strategies for Social Media

Gamification Strategies for Social Media

Jorge Esparteiro Garcia, Pedro Rodrigues, Jorge Simões, Manuel José Serra da Fonseca
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5538-8.ch007
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With the evolution of technology and all the associated paradigms, the business reality had the need to adapt and incorporate all this evolution. Gamification strategies in social networks are used to optimize the use and involvement of users. Thus, in a business context, these strategies are used to increase user engagement in the company/brand's social networks with the aim of increasing and strengthening trust. This chapter's main objectives are to understand if internet users and social media users know the term gamification and if the associated strategies are perceptible in the social media context. Therefore, to better analyze the users' behavior regarding these strategies and their knowledge about gamification, an online survey was developed and applied. After the survey, it was possible to conclude that 16.3% of the respondents already knew the term gamification. Through the survey it was also possible to conclude that most respondents had already been in contact with gamification strategies, even if 90.6% did not adhere to them frequently.
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Before the creation of computers as we know them today, in the middle of the 20th century, there was a huge evolution caused by technological advances and the growing industrial demand. Due to the need for information storage and automation of processes that until then would have been manual, the creation of the first computers began, quite different from the ones we know today. A few years later, and thanks to the continuous and rapid technological advance, computers became more intelligent and capable of storing more information. At the height of the Cold War between the United States of America and the USSR (from 1947 to 1991), the Americans felt the need to decentralize the information they contained in buildings such as the Pentagon and so began the ideology of backup and data security and consequently the creation of the Internet (Sandroni, 2015).

After the first email was sent, there was an exponential growth of computer systems and the Internet itself. A few years later, after years of research and investment in this type of technology, the World Wide Web, the World Wide Web of Computers, was created in the 1990s - the Internet thus became a global phenomenon, spreading rapidly through all countries on planet Earth. In a fraction of time, it became possible to communicate with any part of the world, which until then would have been impossible (Sandroni, 2015).

Gamification has already been used successfully to achieve improvements and optimizations in a multitude of challenges. Gamification can be seen as the use of game elements for user reward.

Examples include, from creating bronze or marble statues of the winners from the early days of the Olympic games to coming to the present day with improving learning through success badges (Hakulinen, Auvinen & Korhonen, 2013), improving employee engagement (Neeli, 2012) and encouraging users to act more safely (Kroeze & Oliver, 2012). In each of these studies, game-like elements were used to make improvements, rewarding users, or encouraging certain behaviors.

Throughout this chapter, the main concepts, and the evolution that gamification has undergone over the years in the different sectors where it is used will be addressed.

Of the multiple applications that the Internet has brought to the human being, there was the creation of web applications called social networks. It was in 1997 that one of the first social networks was created - it is difficult to classify one as the first - Six Degrees, where in many aspects it fits into the context that we know today as a social network (creating a profile, uploading photos, sharing personal information). It is, however, in 2004 that the social network MySpace reaches one million monthly users, and it is argued that this is the beginning of social networks (Ortiz-Ospina, 2019).

Right now, Facebook, the world's largest social media platform, has 2.4 billion users. Other social media platforms, including Youtube and Whatsapp, also have over a billion users each.

Given that there are almost 8 billion people worldwide, with at least 3.5 billion nodes online, this means that social media platforms are used by more than one in three people in the world, and more than two-thirds of all Internet users (Ortiz-Ospina, 2019).

Social media has changed and will continue to change the world. The rapid and wide adoption of these technologies is changing how we meet partners, how we access information from the news, and how we organize to demand policy change.

In the case of this chapter, the object of study of this research is the knowledge of the term gamification and its strategies in social networks, directly or indirectly, by the user.

The objectives are divided into general and specific, having fundamental roles in the research process.

The general objective of the research is as follows:

- To verify the knowledge of gamification strategies in social networks.

To achieve the general objective, the following research questions (RQ) were determined:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 4.0: Known as the symbiotic web, it aims at the interaction between humans and machines in symbiosis.

Badges: A commonly used game element in gamification, also known as an achievement or a trophy.

Social Networks: A set of web-based services and applications where users create and exchange content of their own creation.

Achievement: Defined as optional subgoals that are rewarded in a secondary reward system, i.e., the achievement system, separate from the primary reward system.

Game Mechanics: Any part of a game's rule system that covers one, and only one, type of possible interaction that takes place during the game.

Gamification: Use of game design elements in non-game contexts.

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