Feminine gamification viewpoint: social conversations
On social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest women tend to dominate as active users, on the other social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn the balance is slightly slanted towards men. But what is really different and why should we care about it in gamification.
A lot of gamification initiatives have social sharing elements built in and social elements are often seen as the glue that will make a campaign sticky, which puts the communication elements as a rather important component in a campaign.
So let’s look at an example of two friends sharing an article on Facebook:
Women: This piece is amazing and very well-put. Definitely recommend checking it out!
Men: Was reading this today.
Now let’s put this in a work mail context:
Women: I finished the report. I’m not sure if that’s exactly how you wanted it, so I also included some other examples that might be more workable. Also I’ll be available by phone and email if that still isn’t workable and I’m around to make changes. Just let me know!
Men: Finished report. On your desk.
I assume you also notice a distinct difference in the messages. In our examples, which I believe from my observations on my social networks I see as a reflection of what happens for generally speaking: women tend to include more emotion when they share, whereas men are more neutral and use less words. Women tend to explain more why you should consider something.
When designing for social sharing in a business setting both options need to be made available. Now notice in the work mail example, how women may tend to draw doubt on their ability rather than simply assume that what they deliver is good enough and just delivered. Both employees finished the report, so the business result was achieved in both cases but the softer message travelling with the female one may instil either doubt on one end or thinking further than necessary on the other hand.
Most women tend to share what they care about and they will tell you why should care too. However as soon as performance tracking comes into it, women tend to share less and are a lot more hesitant in their messaging but when they care about a topic they will still contribute with empathy or passion. Men as soon as performance tracking becomes part of it become more competitive and may want to prove themselves by attacking other opinions with theirs and what may by women be perceived as a rather aggressive conversation.
So the key in my view to making social engagement work in enterprise gamification is to also build in a curation element and rules of conduct regarding the tone of the conversation. I came across one simulation recently where in a retail setting the customer could walk out mid-conversation when they didn’t like what the shop assistant said and it affected the overall score of the player who took on the role of retail assistant and it also added to the negative mood score of the overall store experience.
Mutual respect I think should be a basic requirement no matter what in every industry. If you find that the social element in your gamification campaign is only attracting one gender, then have a look at the tone and manner in which communication is conducted and start adding in some questions which will distinctly appeal to the other gender and see of that stimulates re-engagement.
Where have you seen social elements go well and where have you seen them go awfully wrong, we would love to hear your examples?