Whatever people say it is, gameification isn't about games.

Mind you, enough people are saying it's not about games already. So I'll tell you what gameification is about, and it's called community building.

Amy Jo Kim wrote Community Building on the Web a good few years ago. Enough time has passed for those lessons to have been incorporated into a lot of the more successful websites of the last boom, and clearly enough time has passed for those lessons to have been forgotten.

Now that everyone is on Twitter and Facebook, we've forgotten how to build communities on our own. We've out-sourced authentication to anyone with a big enough social graph, and in doing so most websites now import your friends into their service, losing the knowledge of why people visit and why they tell their friends.

A lot of the mechanics of the gameification idea are based around appointment dynamics, gifts, ratings and rewards. A lot of these are such basic methods of interacting with visitors that is clear to see why game designers look at gameification as something very alien to their work.

That said, Community Building on the Web is a very good book. Whilst plenty of the tips may seem out of date or obvious, they are lasting lessons that seem to have been forgotten, or reinvented. It's an expensive book, I believe there are PDF copies for sale too, but it'll give you a deeper understanding of adding greater interactivity to your ideas.

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