Mashable Gamifies Tech News

Mashable Gamifies Tech News


Earlier this year, Mashable rolled out gamification elements for their tailored news experience, Mashable Follow.  Last week, Mashable wrote about the new features, and asked “what makes gamification successful?” The answers they provide give a cursory case study of how gamification can motivate engagement in an already active community.

Mashable badges are playing a bit of catch-up as gamification of the news has been seen before. Most recently, Google News rolled out Google News Badges and the Huffington Post beat the curve with their badge integration in April 2010. But HuffPo badges quickly became the poster child for badge fatigue, and Google News Badges seem to have fallen by the wayside.

Mashable Badges

Mashable tries to overcome the shortfalls of earlier examples by making the badges fun. They rely on Internet memes like “Dramatic Chipmunk” and “Double Rainbow” to reach their tech-savvy audience. These creative badges are an improvement over the “Moderator” and “Super User” badges from HuffPo, and Mashable quotes one of their users in saying the badges “really make people smile to see something funny, referential, nerdy, etc. — things that we can relate to and feel even more at home at Mashable.”

Community lies at the heart of the gamification elements, and Mashable hopes to build from the early success by turning to the community to help design new features with ongoing contests. Though badges are one of the most common elements in gamification campaigns, Mashable has shown how badges can be fun with a customized and creative approach.

Check out the full story at Mashable.


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  1. Personally, I don’t think it will work. Badges are a way for users to show off their accomplishments. Not everybody is motivated by public recognition, so badges only appeal to a small percentage of users. Furthermore, the badges have to indicate an actual accomplishment that the user wants to show off. Frankly, I don’t think many people will want to brag about following 125 users–that doesn’t mean that they’re good at anything other clicking on a button to follow someone.

    It would be better if the badges were something to actually brag about. For example, someone might want to show off that 125 users are following them (that’s an actual accomplishment!), but even then, showing off badge only appeal to a subset of users.

    It’s nice to see that they considered their target audience in choosing names for the badges, but all they did was slapped on some badges and hoped it works. They need to put more thought and research into what actually motivates their users to use the site, and then build a unique gamification system based on their findings.

  2. So glad to see Mashable motivates reading and sharing of news in such a casual manner. However, I am not too sure if merely giving badges has transform the whole thing into a gamified experience. I will like to see gamification from a perspective that users don’t realize that they are doing what we WANT them to do. The initiative or even the performance itself has to be almost (or at least largely) subconscious.

    When I play a FPS game on iPhone that requires me to run around and move my body to take aim, I am actually exercising. And when I go to my profile, I see how much I have ran, calories burned etc on top of my frag, shot accuracy and rank etc. But I don’t actually realize that because I thought I am playing a game. To me, that is gamification. I know lots of guru out there are saying “oh, progress bar, gamification” , ” badge for loyalty, gamification”. Yes , very subtly , but is that all we can produce?

    I am not a pro/consultant/guru, but I feel that gamification can be brought to a higher level instead of just accepting it as “points and badges for baseline”

    Just my 2 cents 🙂

  3. I agree with you that digital games are much more complex than the just the handfull of features gamification has latched onto (you might like this prototype of a first person shooter + treadmill ).

    Badges themselves are limited, and as one of the most common elements in gamification projects, are often taken from cookie-cutter graphics and have limited connection to the core of the site. I think Mashable did a good job for getting over that (admittedly small) hump.