Social media is one of the reasons why more and more of us are becoming used to gamification in our applications. The likes and emoji are like a social ranking system, the daily prompts are calls to action, the endless scrolling feeding our curiosity, etc. All of these could be classed either as game mechanics or game dynamics. The fact that it has social built in from the outset helps matters enormously because most humans are sense makers through their social networks.
One thing that most social media doesn’t yet create is a dislike or peer rating system. I think YouTube is the exception and has dislike buttons, but Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn don’t at all. The emoji give us a range of feelings to express on Facebook, but not quite a disagree or dislike option.
From a business perspective and a reputation management perspective, this may be tricky and lead to online unsavoury behaviour and bullying. Some people unfortunately live and die with their social platforms.
Would you want honest feedback?
I do however wonder if a system where honest feedback was actively sought could work in these environments. A little bit like a stack overflow style system where peers give feedback on the quality of a question or comment. Those using social media to help other or share useful and factual material rise to the top, those doing the opposite slowly fall down. Maybe it is too much to ask for because you can imagine abuse of dislikes for personal gain. One would hope that real people would call out dishonesty.
At a very minimum people should be able to question the validity of facts through the same ease of access as a like or an emoji. I also feel agreeing to disagree should be an option. The more our politicians are setting bad examples of being polarised on ‘their way or the highway’, the more we need to find ways of disagreeing gracefully. There is space for multiple views and there always will be, teaching people that it is ok to agree to disagree and tease out each other’s facts from fiction can be helpful.
One of the reasons it is on my mind is how I saw the commentary on one post to do with the very divisive issue of Brexit escalating into a bashing of opinions where some of them had no grounding in fact and others were so close to the bone emotionally that I refrained first of all from taking part in the discussion and secondly looked one with interest to see if anyone would call out the ones spreading known untruths. Sadly only one or two tried and were shouted down.
This is the very point where a one-click request to fact check would come in handy. In the same simple way as I can like or emoji a post. the fact check request would then need to be processed, an ideal job for investigative journalists for example. If it is verified to be true then it shows as fact verified in green and if not factual ‘fact checked returned = untrue’ in red. Or even a fact rating for the dubious cases where it is neither here nor there, but based on research you can say likely to be true ot untrue.
I think it could work for many purposes from advertising claims to opinions and it has the potential to weed out the nonsense from reality. Many young people are consulting social media as their key news source, by the very nature of the algorithms behind them or hashtags chosen for you, your feed is tainted by your preferences and far from neutral.
Peer rating or ranking for messaging
Another pet hate of mine is the amount of direct message and connection requests especially on LinkedIn where the sole objective is to sell you something. I had a few in the last couple of weeks where they must have done a search on job titles and then upon connection, sent me, and likely 100s with the same job title, a message tailored to my assumed needs. Assumptions in the very nature of the word make an ass out of u and me….one wise mentor told me some time ago.
I have challenged a few of them lately about when did connecting on social media gave them permission to spam sales messages at me? What happened to getting to know me and building a relationship?
In any case, I usually disconnect from the culprits, seen that in my gamification terms they have now earned that right and if they are particularly pesky I also report them for spam. Some even then add you to their mailing list (without your permission) aka a big GDPR no-no! or start pestering you on the phone because they can now claim they had sent a message and are following up. If I took the time to report them each time, I would lose an hour per week easily, the SEO, web design and app design people seem to be the worst contenders.
But here is the thing, as a business owner, I appreciate we all have selling to do. Having a simple button in the messaging section that indicates not interested in your services would save a lot of time or a quick link to disconnect from that person. I don’t mind exploring something I am in the market for, but I will decide what that is and when. Blind assumptions are useless for both sides. Because this practice is on the increase, I would think a ranking system for direct messages may already go some way to alleviate the problem.
I would suggest the following system:
- 0-star rating equals no interest,
- 1-star equals maybe this lifetime
- 2-stars equal maybe down the line
- 3-stars equal could be useful
- 4-stars equal close enough to something I am looking for, please tell me more
- 5-stars equal please talk to me now about what you have to offer
In my view, it would make the direct messaging system easier to manage or at least I would hope so. And I would add that similar to what happens now on the recruiter side of LinkedIn if your approach gets marked down too often your rights to send messages is revoked for a period and ideally, you are sent on a course for what to do instead before you are given your access back.
I apologise if it comes across a bit ranty today, but this week I really have had it with social interruptions. I just hope that some of my suggestions fall on listening ears. Social media has a lot of good sides, but also a heck of a lot of bad ones.