By Valentina Borbone
I found myself in a strange situation the last few months since coming back to work. I’ve suffered a confidence shock that’s for sure, wondering when this baby brain is going to dissolve and let my brain return to it’s normal function. I’ve tried to get myself back into the social scene, reconnecting on Twitter with my followers, finally registering for Foursquare to work out what all the fuss is and reinvigorating my interest in my Klout Score.
You see there appeared to be a little competition going on within Zuni. Jacki our Strategic Planner was chasing a greater number of Twitter followers than Mike, the MD. Quite a compliment to Jacki as Mike does have an extensive reputation in digital & is highly connected – so as she surpasses Mike, he’s fighting back with a Klout Score as he’d have higher amplification. Yet, my amplification is higher than both – so I started watching Klout like a child, checking 4 or 5 times a day if the score had increased and generating as many tweets as I could in short bursts.
Then we started on Foursquare. I’ve never known the attraction to this application, even as a lecturer I couldn’t really find any benefit to doing it, but not one to just whinge about, I thought I’d give it a go. It was quite fun to begin with, but with limited friends using it my leaderboard is a massive list of 5 participants. I became the mayor of Zuni and soon after Jacki & Mike started checking in too, they were challenging my Mayorship with every check-in. If I missed a place or simply forgot, I found it frustrating that I wasn’t getting any points and became more aware of looking for ways to be in interesting places. The tips are surprisingly good but sparse. The attraction was only made worse by the Foursquare check-ins appearing on my Facebook feed.Social Media Landscape
Klout then changed their algorithm and most users saw their score decrease – I on the other hand found mine had increased significantly. It appeared that the algorithm gave more power to Facebook than Twitter and other social platforms. So there I was frantically trying to get back into my Facebook sharing to make a difference to my score. That’s when I ran into the hurdle of worlds colliding. My Twitter & Klout presence are really work oriented – my Facebook on the other hand has very little to do with my job.
By the end of the week I felt exhausted. Mentally tired of worrying who is beating me, why I didn’t have as many followers as the others and the pressure – my goodness the pressure I felt to have to be on par, it was ridiculous. When you throw in emotions on top of pressure, I realised I was trapped in a vortex of social expectations and meaningless gamification, which was making me unhappy.
Last night I checked-in on Foursquare at Stockland Mall. I thought I’d check out the Mayor – who was the mayor of 42 places, so I checked them out. Appears that “Jase K” is actually an employee of Tara – as 10+ of his check-ins were for Tara, including the Tara Maintenance Shed, the Telescope, the Netball Courts, Theatre, The Music Centre…. and well, it deflated me. It’s all a crock. Considering that I haven’t received a single “reward” for any of my activity, it really is nothing but a farce. So I go back to my original thinking as a lecturer and put my hand up to say that Foursquare is useless for ME. Other than a bit of fun with my colleagues, there’s no point.
So rather than disconnect entirely, I’ve started to draw the line. Gamification has a lot to answer for in my books – the feeling of incompleteness is powerful – and perhaps used in the right way, excellent. I guess it all comes back to relevance & content. Gosh, gamification is another blog entirely.
Facebook have nailed it. Twitter have done a great job. Klout needs to reconsider their algorithm and Foursquare needs to re-consider it’s position in Australia (as it’s very popular in the US). It’s horses for courses, and this horse has run its race. Night night.