Farmville, strangely enough, is a somewhat divisive phenomenon. Some people absolutely love it (“I’m addicted”, “I just love it”, “It’s the only reason I am on Facebook”) whereas others hate it (“I don’t get it”, “I am sick of seeing that someone has harvested their strawberries in my news feed” Note: Facebook has made it very easy to block the updates of any application you don’t want to see, “What a waste of time”). I love the whole idea of social gaming, and I have been trying to figure out what it is about it that I enjoy so much. It dawned on me that social gaming is the pure form of almost everything that makes me passionate about social media in general. Perhaps the actual games aren’t serious, but the concepts that one can draw from social gaming are fundamental to social media.
Making friends and connections around a shared idea or passion
Social games encourage you to become neighbours with as many people as you can in order to help one another. This means you can be playing with people from all over the world, all ages and all backgrounds. You start out in the context of the game, but through the activity of the game you start to get to know people. Great relationships often start with one common point.
How this translates into business
Networking and making connections is one of the fundamental aspects of business success today. And the strength of a connection will often rest on the point of commonality which it starts with. You can never know where a connection might lead and sometimes it can take a bit of time to find out, but if you have a really solid foundation then the connection will last long enough to get you to that point.
Helping one another to get ahead
A fundamental aspect of online gaming is the process of ‘gifting’ or ‘sharing’. There has to be a high level of thinking of others in order for both you and your neighbour to get ahead. Of course, this is all undertaken in the knowledge that gifts are abundant and endless, but it still takes time to send and receive. In many cases, sending a gift affords the sender no direct benefit, but everyone still does it.
How does this translate to business?
The one commodity which is abundant and endless is knowledge and support. Social media gained dominance partly because it was an incredible way to share ideas and knowledge. There was a spirit of generosity which underpinned most online relationships which was amazing. The benefit that all parties gain out of this kind of gifting or sharing may not always be immediately evident, but as I have experienced time and time again, they always come back in one form or another.
Visiting and Learning from one another
When you become ‘neighbours’ with someone, it doesn’t matter if they are at level 2 or level 200. You are still able to visit them, send gifts to them and get gifts from them. Each person can learn from one another – how to get ahead, how to do certain tasks, what to do to make things quicker, more efficient or easier. I even have one neighbour who has created a number of little videos showing how she does certain things which you would never find in the help pages.
How this translates into business
There are some people you meet in business who hold their cards very close to their chest. They are the people who like to take but don’t like to give back. Then there are others who share experience, give advice, help you when things aren’t going so well and are more than happy to help when you ask questions. They work on the notion that we can all help each other to improve and that knowledge gained is better when it is knowledge shared.
Which ever side of the social gaming divide you fall on, there is no doubt that the concepts which come out of it are things which make business more rewarding, more enjoyable and far more successful.
Now, I am sure I have a crop of wheat I need to harvest…