Gamifying The News

Here is an interesting item that made its way to my email box.  A researcher put together an online game to expose college students to news via a virtual social gaming environment.  Here is the premise:

More than 65 percent of Americans younger than 30 utilize the Internet as their main source for national and international news, according to the Pew Research Center. However, most young adults do not consciously seek out news online, but rather are exposed to it incidentally while searching for other information or doing non-news-related activities, such as visiting social networking sites or checking their email. Now, interdisciplinary researchers at the University of Missouri have created an Internet game that promotes school athletic spirit while engaging young people with the news.

In her previous research, Borchuluun Yadamsuren, a researcher in the MU School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, found that Internet users often are exposed to news through “serendipitous discovery” rather than deliberate consumption. Young people are especially likely to be “news encounterers” who find news incidentally while surfing the Internet for different reasons, she says.  “If we can develop a strategy to post stories or links from credible sources in locations young adults normally use, such as on Facebook or gaming sites, we can hopefully attract them to news media.”

So enquiring minds may want to know but they’re not very proactive in finding out, I guess.  The results were encouraging enough that the project is continuing on and I’m thinking we’ll see it as a full-fledged platform of some sort down the road.  What is really going on is a very basic principle of marketing – speak with (not at)  people in a meaningful way.  Rewarding them either psychically or financially for accomplishing a task can further engagement.  Think about what went on after the presidential debate.  While a lot of people watched, I suspect a lot more found out about the key moments through posts their friends put up on social media (the “binders full of women” meme took hold within hours).  Gamification techniques reinforce the discovery process.

Makes sense to me.  How about to you?  How can you use this idea in your brand’s business?

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Filed under digital media, What's Going On

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