“Gamification or this idea of motivating people through data, is inevitable. Once you’ve optimized your systems and eked out every last bit of operational efficiency, what do you have left? You have your people, and your ability to motivate them to perform better. And the data that they’re generating and throwing off as they interact with your systems is the biggest tool you have at your disposal to do that. The companies that do this are going to be the ones that win in their markets, and the ones that don’t are going to get left behind.” -Rajat Paharia

This quote I believe sums up the main idea of the Playing the Real Life reading. For someone who didn’t quite understand how play could be incorporated into sites like LinkedIn or Twitter, this quote rewords what Philip Man was trying to explain. Yes there are actual games like FarmVille or Candy Crush that exist on social media platforms, but when sites like LinkedIn are professionally based, how does play exist? When the reading went into the explanation of how having the completion bar for profiles on sites like this continues to motivate people to make something better, I could see how gamification was being implemented. Maybe its just because those things are so natural and normal for me that I don’t even realize the underlying intent. I am constantly on LinkedIn trying to make something sound better or add more information. I am being drawn into the game that LinkedIn has created but since it is so closely related to real life or things that I need in real life, it doesn’t always feel like a “game”.

The combination of the real world with gaming tactics is something that I find to be a little unsettling. In cases like my previous description of LinkedIn or games on Facebook, it isn’t harmful. I am referring more to ideas such as targeted advertising.

“This kind of profiling, which Rogers (2008) calls ‘depersonalized data analysis’, focuses not only on who bought what kind of product, but rather that an individual bought it and what else this individual has bought.”

When I am online shopping I could just be browsing a stores selection to see what they have. I may not be looking for anything in particular. But there are times when I am looking for something like a dress for a wedding and I will be looking at more than one site. During this online shopping escapade I will also be on Facebook and the next thing I know there is an ad for a dress that I had just looked at on a different site. I can understand that business behind this sort of advertising but I do not agree with it. The process of shopping, for me, is one of a game already. Going through different styles of clothes, choosing the colors I want, ect. It can be exciting, especially when new things are released. But when another level of gaming is added, such as the target advertising, it becomes too much. This is a crossing of gaming boundaries if you will. There is already the blurring of lines and crossing of boundaries between real life and games when it comes to social media. Are we able to handle the crossing of games in these situations as well?

I understand that most people hate to see ads when they are online and that making those ads about products that a person had searched for could make it more productive. But it is hard to get away from the creepy feeling that happens when one site is showing a product that you viewed on another. The technology makes me wary.

When it comes to gamification in situations like Facebook or LinkedIn I don’t think that it is very harmful. Continuing to update your LinkedIn profile could reward you in better resume reviews and better job searches. By “friending” more people on Facebook you can keep closer ties with more people than would normally be possible. I think that the gamification that we are experiencing is overall a beneficial tool but some areas just need to be more thought through and implented in better ways.