Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Play = communication = learning = creativity

Experience economy has been topical since the beginning of 90s. In 1992 professor Gerhard Schulze wrote about Erlebnisgesellschaft (experience economy) and noticed the rising importance of 'experiences' in our society. In 1996 Michel Maffesoli in his book "The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society" linked the discussion of neo-tribes with postmodern time and described what he perceived to be the transient, spontaneous and affective communities that make up late modern consumer-based societies.

This came even more evident after internet became widespread everyday tool for many with different channels and short- or longterm groups or tribes. In 1999 James Gilmore and Joseph Pine (“The Experience Economy”) and Rolf Jensen ("The Dream Society. How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business") linked the discussion of neo-tribes and experience economy with business.

That was the real kick-off for “experience economy” era and end of information society as technology-driven office-desk community. Where as information was technology, experience is content, participation and emotions. Speed, real time interaction, profit responsibility and experiences have become ideals which will lead to the stage where decision and action is not controlled the same way anymore and where cause-effect start losing its meaning.

Communities, UGC and playfulness all focus on packaging, sharing and delivering the information in an interesting way. People want to have fun, they want to contribute, rank and rate things. They want to stand out, build reputation and have their 15 seconds of fame.

I was involved in Virtahepo project (2005-2006) where we studied how youth workers could utilize the net more 'youth-friendly' way. We made a survey (N=1572) at Habbo Hotel (Finland) and asked what kids (10-18 year olds) would like to do at the online youth house. They wish to have surveys (20% girls /20% boys), one to one discussions (20% / 11%) , games (19% / 35%,) events (15% / 14%)... etc. That was something current Netari-environments Habbo or IRC-gallery could not provide. It seemed difficult to think of any service which would combine all these things together.

Now when talking about the possibilities of elearning or edugames, digital youth work arenas and casual gaming -- it is clear which service is answering many current needs of flexibility. That is of course Facebook. It is a service where people can create something by themselves, modify, share information, add applications, communicate or distribute content, do networking with people from best friends to acquaintances, form groups, play together, share ideas, arrange happenings and invite people to join.

I would claim that Facebook type of "gaming" will be a new trend in casual gaming. It also gives a lot of potential to edugaming, virtual youth work and ways to link benefit with pleasure. People who really are not into nerdy things or gaming like to play with their friends at the context of Facebook where it is not really Playing, it is hanging around and communicating with friends. Also one can compete with their actual friends, not just with random people who have played Zuma for 24/7 for the last five months with unattainable high scores. Playing is not only Game-games, it can also be a "game" to send a fish to someone's acquarium or to compare super hero, TV-program or favourite drink ratings. Anything and everything from hard core to casual gaming, from "Who wants to be a millionaire?" to poker tournaments.

TechDigest has listed 101 more cool Facebook applications. It gives a nice overview of the scale of F-applications. The interesting thing is that many of these applications are mixing benefit with pleasure – offering possibilities for communication and variety of information in a game/fun/experience/entertainment format.

An addition to this because I just learned from another blog:
"Facebook developers recently added a Daily Active Users metric to their Applications page, and those numbers drastically changed my thinking of what games are currently working on the social network." INTERESTING!

"In fact, most FB games attract everyday usage of around 10% or less."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

MySpace has also noticed this. They are about to release MySpace games in January.
http://www.myspace-games.com/

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SonjaK said...

In relation to this topics, I found Adonomics.com

(http://adonomics.com/)

"Adonomics is for Facebook analytics. By providing a stock-market-style analysis of the Facebook platform they enable people to track application growth, activity, and valuation."