Gamification is missing the point.

Gamification, or using game mechanics on things like websites and apps to encourage people to keep using them, seems to be missing the point. Most of the gamification I've seen out there focuses on things like points, acheivements and completeness to try to become sticky like a video game. 

But gaming is sticky, and fun, because of the squirt of dopamine that happens whenever you learn a new pattern. It's why playing is an evolutionary advantage, and why it's one of the best ways to learn. Points, achievements and completeness at the end of the day just a measurement of how well gamers have groked the patterns of the game. 

And yes, I said grok

Blogging with a point of view vs. Blogging with a specific focus

I spend way too much time and energy agonizing what to put on this blog when I should just be posting. Lately, my procrastination du jour has centered around what the subject matter of this blog should be. Should I keep it focused on advertising/planning content, or should I let it swing wide open to include planning content + day-to-day observations. After thinking it over and looking at the blogs that I really enjoy reading, I’ve realized that there are two ways of going about this.

  1. Focus on a particular subject—For me, this would probably mean exclusively posting about marketing and account planning.
  2. Establish a subject based lens—For me this would be viewing the world through the perspective of a strategic planner.

It’s about defining a vantage point versus a finite destination. Neither one is the "right way" to blog, but I’ve found that the blogs that I tend to enjoy the most are of the latter variety. They are usually more interesting, less prescriptive, less preachy, and have the ability to post more often and evolve as their author does.

My pediatrician's wife maintains an awesome mom-blog, but she confided in me recently when I asked her for blogging advice that the best thing she ever did was leave the word "mom" out of her blog title. It gives her more flexibility over what she writes about. She's created a lens to see the world through rather than a focus to limit herself with. Also, it makes it something that I am allowed to read.  

Then there's the prototypical planning blogger who no longer blogs about planning: Russell. His blog used to be described as "thoughts of a planner." It's brilliant because it created a lens, not a focus; whereas "thoughts on planning" would do the opposite. He kept his worldview wide open, and because of that his blog has been able to evolve and expand with his interests while appealing to more than just account planners.

So I think I’m going to try to approach my writing with a lens rather than a defined subject. It’s kind of what I’ve been doing, but I think having worked this out in my head will allow me to move on to exciting new reasons to procrastinate writing this blog.