I felt like I was in a hipster film set.
Not a set up film set, I mean, in a documentary about hipsters? … as in, it was so real, it felt fake?
Just, space, wooden floors, with good looking creative types wearing cardigans and thick-rimmed glasses using their iDevices or playing ping pong (which is cool). Colours were all pretentiously pastel and everything was too polished, and lean… even down to the variety of beers, with a beer menu of about 12 beers that were in large font across an A4 piece of paper on a clipboard, with a similar wine list, and cocktail menu with an intriguing ‘Shoreditch twat’.
Still, it was nice. Fun. Cute. Cool… for a summer’s day.
Maybe I should write a blog post about it, I thought to myself.
But the problem with hating on hipster venues is that they *aim* for pretentious, so it’s just a low blow to say it’s *too* trendy, either it sounds ironic (and falls into their trap) or… I sound bitter (which falls into their trap).
I’m a thoughtful, flighty writer
A philosophical dream
Cynically idealistic, honestly fictional,
I’m so full of fancy bullshit, and inspired by the same.
I make apt observations of contradictory truths and beautiful paradoxes.
I’m fun and I’m game; (I’m nonsensical and competitive).
I’m stupid with intelligence enough
To know what’s wrong with everything I’m doing…
and I probably know what you think of it, too.
I’m egotistical and sensitive,
silly and sweet,
I like trying new things
Like word salads
and world literature
I dance with my words like similes (they are notoriously bad dancers).
I’m humbly pretentious,
and here’s a pointless poem;
the best kind of rave.
Gamification: Oxford English Dictionary description (shortlisted for word of the year in 2011):
“The application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service: gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun.”
Here’s some notes I ripped learned from Jason Bice’s article Game On! in Hub Magazine, Oct 2012:
The use of game-design techniques to solve problems, motivate and engage people is not new. What is new is the technology that allows gaming elements to be applied to virtually any experience; and this technology is at the intersection of gaming and branding worlds.
Gamification somewhat of a novelty. Most ‘gamified’ applications or services employ systems of badges, achievements, levels etc, but lacks any degree of behavioural complexity. This complexity is key to creating the gamer’s state of intense engagement / ‘blissful productivity’ Jane McGonigal in her TED talk ‘Gaming can make a better world’.
But, why not stick to traditional, tried and tested methods of engagement? Advertising, direct marketing, social media? It begs the question of why companies should spend time and money on marketing that is too young to have a proven track record for ROI.
But in today’s attention economy, can you afford not to?
The high engagement level of gamers is a most coveted elements a brand could seek to capture. Everyone is gaming – since Angry Birds was released in 2009, collective time spent playing has come to over 200,000 years. Today, over half a billion people in the world spend 3 billion hours a week playing online games.
This success partly due to mobile/on-demand entertainment, partly due to gaming becoming more accepted as mainstream leisure. Many reasons games are receiving our attention and projected to receive more in the future. Passive media like television and film are starting to share equal time – or taking a back seat to – gaming as the public’s entertainment of choice. Companies therefore doing their best to convert this shift in attention into customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Problem? …The act of simply putting messages/ads/sponsorships interrupts and injects our leisure pursuits with reality, which is what we escape from when we play games. But if we gamify the ads – it’s fun, it’s absorbing, and, most importantly, it’s voluntary. Gamification provides an opt-in choice to receive such messages and be rewarded for doing so… so, it’s a win-win, if done well.
But it’s not being done well.
Gamification’s poster child = Foursquare. Introduced basic game mechanics and created simple yet absorbing experience for users. In return for points, rewards and climbing up leaderboards, consumers didn’t mind if the app took them to sponsored/partnered content (and still don’t). But this successful formula is deceptive – badges and points do not a game maketh. They don’t guarantee the audience will engage with your product.
Since Foursquare, flurry of badge-having, points-awarding, achievement-unlocking apps (GetGlue), blogs (DevHub) and websites (Huffington Post) but… “without the context of any goal or meaningful rewards.”
“Badges, achievements, and points were awarded for doing things like clicking a link, “liking” a site on Facebook, or watching a specific TV program. The absorbing parts of a game—the element of discovery and play, mastery of challenge, and the immensely satisfying epic win—were replaced with empty or repetitive tasks that the user was either likely to do without additional encouragement or not motivated enough to do by the pseudo-reward offered. As a result, these subpar gamified experiences have begun to outnumber the truly superb ones, casting them all in a light that makes them look faddish and superfluous for business purposes.”
“Companies must realize that a gamified offering is a project in and of itself. Time and money must be invested in having people with experience execute it. That means getting game designers, user experience designers, professional coders, and web and mobile platform strategists on board. Game designers have a 40+-year head start on marketers for what makes a game fun and what doesn’t. Prototyping, iterating, playtesting, and balancing are not just nice to have. They are required for success.”
Jury is out on whether gamification will be a central trend or a faddish afterthought. But traditional forms of media are changing more rapidly than ever before. With that simple truth, advertising and marketing firms have an opportunity to reinvent what they offer and define the real-world benefits they provide for clients and customers.
He asks whether companies can explore this trend fully, to get what lies behind a successful game and campaign, and harness this power to create more productive workplaces, more efficient global and local communities, and happier and healthier people?
Here’s a TED talk by an actual expert out there:
A delightful pub with a clever beer garden, full of quirky randomness. The decked garden is built upwards with different levels, nooks and crannies for one or for ten people, with tables close enough together to encourage talking to strangers on a summer’s night.
They have a quality selection of drinks, but they ran out of the Heineken and Amstel on tap – but Hoegaarden instead was better, with lemon *and* lime!
Plenty of cool kids staying up late on the Sunday I went (11th May), with live music consisting of an acoustic band crouched around a table in one of the three different sections of the pub.
A reply to Jeff Goins, here:
Because I only know what I think when I write, and I only know what I feel after I’ve written, mused, and write more. I’m closer to what makes me, me. And what I want to say, to assert that.
To clarify, for peace of mind, to muse. So that when I express, my private thoughts have been given the right attention on paper, to both validate and let them free. I write to let go – I can only let go when I have written it down. That goes for to do lists, emotions and poetically annoying wisps that blind my sight when I have to focus.
For joy. When I write, with a greater control and freedom over what might happen to those words, I really feel joy. And if there is something I need to express – anger, sadness, desperation, happiness – it is all enhanced with joy when I write. Not necessarily directly about those things either – sometimes when I write something completely different, it seeps in and I recognise my intuition churning in mysterious ways.
Because… I just like it. And when I don’t like it, I don’t.
Because I’ve learnt to say no to writing.
I can only drive the supercar at a top speed when I know the brakes are working. To be a writer, I believe it is important to write, often, and deliberately and consciously not write. Both are important. You can’t be a writer without both. Or maybe I just can’t be me, without both.
Because I have a purpose, even if that purpose is simply art for art’s sake. Because morning pages and streams of consciousness refresh me like a shower that pours over the top of my thoughts and in the process, cleans them.
Because I flourish when I appreciate the words I use. And I flourish when I listen to a mastery of language. It is the highest beauty… that I appreciate. Maybe it’s different for others. But I know myself better when I absorb, and become inspired by, the best writing and performing of writing.
And I write…
To thank you, Jeff Goins. You’ve been an inspiration, although you haven’t known it.
Why do you write, create, or otherwise do what you do?
Please share with us, either in the comments, or on your blog and link to it below. <3
From the Coin Phrases archive. First here: 7/July/2013.
I want to write but I don’t want to be lonely. I get lonely.
When I have poured myself out onto the page or work in isolation, I look up in a haze for interaction to fill up.
Some writers like that. And I feel worse about it then. Like, I’m meant to like it.
Writers write to connect with people but the actual process of writing involves aloneness.
It might be my situation that is lonely and writing doesn’t help (although it does, once I do it – but afterwards, not so much).
Yes, real art and real writing is about real life and real pain and it’s brave and embarrassing and that is how I resonate and connect with you. And sometimes it’s braver to point out what’s good in a cynical world.
But on the other hand…
A book written badly can be enjoyed by millions of readers. That’s connection, with the book, and with the other readers between themselves. Nice words don’t matter if you don’t have a story, a journey for the reader to experience, and you need to think about that before you write. You have to reveal it slowly if at all and seduce the reader to think and feel. Good writing is not even words. It’s thinking. Alone.
Losing a very social and great job at the same time as moving house are the two most stressful things in the world by objective standards. They were the most overwhelming and isolating things when I experienced them. And at that time, my partner preferred alone time while alone time for me was painful.
I looked up loneliness and I learned something. With self-awareness, it is a closeness to yourself and a distance from others.
I wonder if that’s true for work.
I love it at times and hate it at others. I’m a bipolar writer?
At the end of the day, when I haven’t made ends meet, I conclude I have nothing to show for my work and achievements pale in comparison to others. I forget why people read and why people write and then I don’t understand what I do.
That’s probably a sign. Often, people feel lonely when they put others first and they come second. Maybe that goes for my work too. When it feels bad, I need to put myself first and my work second.
I’m going for a walk.
And that… is why I have a resistance to writing freely these days. I know there’s a lot to work on in my life, and writing… just doesn’t help with that, any more.