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  • signaltonoise 6:07 pm on December 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game 

    The next big thing in higher education marketing is gaming, or location-based games, or mobile platforms that augment reality and add value through role-playing game dynamics.

    Whatever, you get the picture.

    The point is that colleges and universities want to find ways to engage their communities, and location-based services like Foursquare andSCVNR are quick to meet this demand by reaching out to the higher ed community.

    The basic idea is simple: Go somewhere.  Check in. Earn virtual points or badges (and potentially those points translate into real-life rewards…like free stuff from the local coffee shop or perhaps the campus bookstore, etc.).

    As participants accumulate this virtual currency they’re theoretically becoming more engrossed with your campus.  As discussed recently on HigherEdLive by Tim Nekritz of SUNY Oswego and host Seth Odell, the long-term implications/potential for location-based services is huge, but the current use cases are underwhelming. People check in. Share their location.  Earn virtual points. That’s it…there’s little you can do beyond that.

    The potential of these services to provide an engaging experience for students is there, but out of the box, the game elements of the services lose their luster pretty quickly.  Outside of the narcissism behind being able to claim that you’re “Mayor” of a certain location the “game” starts to get a little repetitive and once the novelty wears off so does the fun.

    And that’s the point of games, isn’t it?  To be fun.  And most people consider games to be fun because they provide challenges that can be mastered, not simply because they provide points or rewards.  The problem with most location-based game services is that they’re no real challenge or skill involved in playing.

    The fault is not with the location-based services themselves: Foursquare, SCVNGR and Facebook Places provide fine platforms that do what they’re intended to do.  There could be appeal to using these services for short-term engagements like campus tours or freshman orientations, but I suspect they will do little for long-term engagement.

    User Experience Designer & Researcher at Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Sebastian Deterding, summarizes some of the reasons for this in a great presenation titled “Pawned: Gamification and its discontents.

    According to Deterding, Gamification can be defined as, “integrating game dynamics into your site, service, community, content or campaign in order to drive participation.”  This is the basic idea behind the location-based services that are all the rage today in higher ed. Deterding’s central thesis is that just adding game elements does not make something a game, as such proponents of gamification often confuse the game elements themselves with actual games.  Games are games not because they have game elements, but because they’re well designed and fun to play.

    A second point that Deterding makes is the basic fact that games are not for everyone, and that just because a consumer wants to learn more about your brand that does not necessarily mean they want to play games.  In some cases, the competitive nature of games may actually turn consumers off to your brand.  Additionally gamification could also result in unintended consequences if you’re not careful.

    The point here is not to say that location-based gaming does not have a role or a potential role in higher ed, but to just to caution that it’s simply a tool and like all tools it can be a dangerous weapon when used the wrong way.  That being said, there are some interesting examples of game-based services being used at schools today.  Harvard has now been using Foursquare for quite some time and has seen some relatively positive results. And, as Patrick Powers noted on his blog last week, the potential for services like Facebook Deals could be big for higher education.

    Time will tell if these services will have an impact on long-term relationship building on campus, but make sure you have a plan before you jump in (or check in? haha) to location-based gaming on your campus.

     

    Update on Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 12:27PM by Registered CommenterDan Obregon

    According to this Techcrunch article, I may not be alone in thinking that location-based services need to step up the “fun” factor.  In fact, they cite a recent Pew Research report which finds that “despite all the hype, the use of location-based services is actually declining in America, from 5% of the online population in May to 4% last month.” The key findings of that report note:

    • 7% of adults who go online with their mobile phone use a location-based service.
    • 8% of online adults ages 18-29 use location-based services, significantly more than online adults in any other age group.
    • 10% of online Hispanics use these services – significantly more than online whites (3%) or online blacks (5%).
    • 6% of online men use a location-based service such as Foursquare or Gowalla, compared with 3%  of online women.

     

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  • signaltonoise 6:06 pm on December 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chrome, cr-48,   

    Enjoying my the Cr-48 Chrome OS netbook very much, but Google should have launched this along with a “Save to the Cloud” function rather than having to download things the conventional way.

     
  • signaltonoise 3:11 pm on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    http://www.slideshare.net/Intelliworks/signal-vs-noise-moving-from-conversation-to-conversion

     
  • signaltonoise 2:16 pm on September 29, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Most Social Networkers are “Joiners” Not “Creators” 

    MediaPost recently highlighted some interesting statistics from Forrester Research which found a lack of “creators” could be stifling the growth of the social web.  Their main concern is that a lack of growth in this area could translate into a lack of creativity and fresh ideas.  In my opinion, the problem is even more severe: disproportionate representation.  This apathy on the part of most social media users will result in a few people with popular ideas receiving undue attention simply because those with better ideas refuse to step forward.  In the end, content will be driven more by popularity than quality.  This isn’t to say popular content is always bad, but a lack of diversity in content creators makes it easy for a few heavy contributors to hog all the attention.

    The solution? Start sharing your ideas.  Even the small ones.

     
  • signaltonoise 7:47 pm on September 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    False Analogy 

    By most accounts, this has not been a good week for Justin Bieber’s brand.  The former YouTube sensation and current teen heart throb quickly became the butt of several internet jokes when he allegedly compared himself to Kurt Cobain, the angst-ridden ’90s alternative rock icon.

    It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out the similarities between Bieber and Cobain are few, if any.  But it does raise a good point about branding and authenticity.

    The Bieber Report’s fabrication of this quote is meant to show there’s clearly a disconnect between Bieber’s perception of himself and that of the public.  The analogy to Kurt Cobain only highlighted that disconnect.

    In the case of higher education, branding campaigns at two institutions have come under a lot of scrutiny for the analogies they make (one intentional, one not).  The Washington Post today features American Universities “Wonk” campaign and the controversy that surrounds it.  The choice of the word “Wonk” to characterize members of its community, while not pleasing to everyone, has definitely caused many to take notice.  According to the article, “[U]niversity leaders are confident that “wonk” – which they define as “an intellectually curious person” or “a knowledgeable Washington insider” – captures something essential about American. The whiff of nerdiness perceived by some students and alumni, officials said, was less important than the word’s distinctiveness.”

    However, some students and members of the AU community are not as confidant.  “I don’t have any positive associations with this word,” said Erin Lockwood, a senior majoring in international studies and economics. “It’s a silly word. It doesn’t have any intellectual gravitas.”  It’s rubbed so many people the wrong way that if you conduct a Google search for the word “Wonk” one of the top results is this Huffington Post article on how the re-branding campaign has underwhelmed students.

    While the effectiveness of the re-branding campaign have yet to be seen, the analogy works.  Regardless of how you feel about the word “wonk,” its definition does convey many of the attributes that AU was shooting for: active citizenship, learning from leaders and Washington as a powerful lab for learning.  Even if you don’t like the word “wonk” its hard to argue that you don’t like it’s meaning or don’t want to be associated with an institution that has a community of intellectually curious people.  Isn’t that what college is all about?

    Unfortunately, another recent campaign took the opposite approach (unintentionally or at least in a mildly ironic way).  By now much has been written about Drake’s infamous “D+” campaign and their quick reversal of it, so I won’t recount it here, but suffice is to say that most alumni and students of an institution would prefer to not be associated with a “D+” mentality.  Even if ironic, the association is not one that made the Drake community happy.

    Whether you like it or not, branding is all about analogies.  Sometimes you can try to make an analogy that you hope is true, but if it’s not true the consequences will come back to haunt you.  Just ask Justin Bieber.

     
  • signaltonoise 12:02 am on September 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Webspeak invades Oxford Dictionary 

    Sign of the times.

     
  • signaltonoise 1:56 pm on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Say goodbye to your CRAPTCHA 

    Not long ago, I wrote about not letting your forms get in the way of you and your prospects. There are various culprits to impeding form completion, but one of the most notorious has been the CAPTCHA. As Un-Marketing guru Scott Stratten says, “Your CAPTCHA is CRAPTCHA.”

    Well, today I learned about a new service that may let publishers remove these annoyances from their sites while at the same time provide advertisers with more exposure to engaged readers. It’s called “Type-In” from a company called Solve Media. The idea is simple: Replace CAPTCHA with slogans or branded phrases from advertisers, and eliminate the clutter of having both CAPTCHA and banner ads taking up real estate on your site. According to All things Digital, these “ads require users to engage with them, by typing in the names of brands and products. But they don’t do anything beyond that — they don’t trigger a video, or take you to another Web site, or anything else. It’s sort of like sitting on your couch and uttering “Outback” every time a Subaru spot comes on.

     
  • signaltonoise 1:07 pm on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Cross-Channel Buying 

    Great new statistics from Forrester on cross-channel purchasing behavior in Europe. 91% of European shoppers who began their research offline also purchased offline. Meanwhile, 58% of those who started to look for information on the Internet eventually made the purchase online.

     
  • signaltonoise 6:52 pm on September 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: quotes   

    I agree with much of what you are saying, mostly the silent pauses in between words.

    Anonymous
     
  • signaltonoise 2:25 pm on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The Rage Curve 

    Fast Company takes a look at some customer service practices that drive customers, like comedian Lewis Black, nuts.  The article includes a chart on how automated telephone systems are driving customers up a wall:

    One thing is clear…the quicker you give customers access to a live agent, the less inhumane they perceive the transaction.

     
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