social networks

Gamestrata - The First Social Network for Cross-Plattform Bragging

The Xbox 360 has achievements (points awarded for the completion of game-specific challenges) and Playstation 3’s Home will allow players to exhibit different trophies. Arcades had highscores as early as 1976 and a Sony representative once told me that the experience of seeing your own name on the screen was the driving force behind the PlayStation equivalent to achievements (and not the drive to merely copy Microsoft). In short: Playing is about bragging. A game, by definition, involves an artificial conflict, so naturally there's always a winner and a loser. Accordingly, it's not very surprising that Huizinga's classic Homo Ludens gives the impression that this what it's all about, that all forms of play are based in mankind's urge to brag. It's an anthropological constant. And so it's not surprising that Gamestrata - the first social network for cross-plattform bragging - was recently launched. Writes Gigaom:

GameStrata has signed deals to publish player stats of several popular games, including Activision’s Guitar Hero 3... and EA’s Battlefield 2, and in a smart move that may make it the universal social network for gamers, will feature player-driven platform stats from the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii consoles as well.

Gamestrata also provides three integrated Facebook apps, which makes perfect sense. Not only from a user's perspective but also in terms of revenue stream. Gigaom again:

From my point of view, that may be the most attractive value proposition — an aggregated collection of play data that allows game developers to better reach this coveted demographic.

Mankind's natural urge to brag in combination with GamerQ, GameStat’s own native point system that is rewarding activity in the community (answering questions, inviting friends etc.) and will (supposedly) translate awarded points into some kind of reward, surely makes this a network to keep an eye on. After all, bloggers, obsessed with making the top lists, getting the highest technorati rankings and the most feed subscribers, aren’t necessarily immune to the whole bragging thing either.


The voter-conversation

Steven Noble had an interesting post over at the Hill & Knowlton site, Elbow Grease, a couple of days ago. Under the headline: The digital election is about what voters say to each other, Nobel argues that we spend too much time focusing on the wrong questions when we discuss the concept of "the digital election".

"The concept of "the digital election" has been attracting a lot of attention in Australia, but too much time has been spent answering the wrong question: how will social media affect the political parties and their campaigns?" Noble writes.

His point is that with a focus like that "the answer probably won't be that exciting".

"Sure, some candidates are obtaining small donations from more contributors, thanks to the internet. Certainly, others are reaching voters in new ways using new tools. However, the shift is evolutionary not revolutionary," Noble argues.

In Noble's opinion we should therefore spend less time discussing the effects of social media and instead spend more time viewing how voters are interacting - or speaking, as he puts it - with each other in the social media scene.

"Until recently, voters held their political conversations in private spaces, from the bus stop to the kitchen table. These conversations were separate from the public realm that's occupied by politicians, journalists, PR practitioners and other members of the political class. They sometimes changed how individuals voted, but they almost never became part of the public record. Today, any voter can hold a conversation in public. Every blog post can be found through a Google search. Every statement is part of public debate. Increasingly, these conversations will affect how our nation makes up its mind on election day," Noble writes.

Noble is certainly making a relevant point in his post. We should spend more time reflecting on how the voter-conversation has moved into the public sphere. However, I still believe we need to study how this impacts on the political agenda discussed by the political parties in a campaign.

Noble also led me to some interesting Australian websites where voters can discuss the election.

Check out these related links:

H&K's Election Predictor, Election Tracker and iVote Australia

- Espen

Ron Paul's fundraising success

One of my favorite Norwegian bloggers, Jill/txt, led me to an interesting post over at TechPresident today about Ron Paul's recent successful fundraising campaign organized through blogs and social networks. Paul's supporters raised over 4 million dollar in one day, and according to TechPresident, "this is the first successful application of a fundraising tactic that beats email or an online-exclusive announcement". Read how Paul made this possible and how it will affect political fundraising in the future over at TechPresident.