Today we (Milly, Lexlibrator, Sophiedoesmedia & Gong Liang) will talk about our newly created concept of a social media platform. Our point of departure was a quite rough slogan of “socialize the nerd”, but as you will see, we left that idea and managed to make it into something more relevant and interesting.
Purpose of the service:
We wanted to create a platform that would bring people together who share specific hobbies. Our main goal was to offer them a place where they could exchange ideas and create new connections, which are often needed in the areas they like. Further in the process we settled on the idea of gaming as the center of our service. We will create a platform for all type of gamers (pc gamers, card gamers, board gamers, video gamers, LARPers, you name it) that will allow them to find like minded people for their respective activities, schedule their plans and discuss their experiences. The purpose of the service can therefore be seen as an overall social gaming network.
As previously mentioned we want to address all self identified gamers. We will not make any exclusions based on the level of their commitment or the game genre they prefer. We want to make our service approachable enough to cater to all age groups, hopefully worldwide. Furthermore we hope to reach even the people who are still doubtful about their gamer identity such as perhaps casual gamers or traditional card players. The audience are basically all kind of gamers, who search for contacts and cooperation possibilities, fitting to their range of game activity.
At the start:
In order to make gamers start with this social media platform we came up with an idea, which builds on an attention creating test followed by an easy sign-up method. This visually appealing test should catch the gamers attention and can be seen as a fun invite, which fuels the gamers curiosity. Therefore we create a widget/tool which asks “Which gamer are you?” where you enter tags according to the games you like. The tool then shows how many other gamers answer in the same or similar combinations than you. The result can on the one hand be used as a viral marketing widget, but includes the invite for our social media as well. It shows how many other gamers have the same preferences (game combinations) and suggests clans to join in with. The clan idea will be developed further in the next paragraph.
The motivation for a gamer to use this social media platform is its game like style, the merge of all different game interests into one platform, the competition options and the urge to be involved and updated about their interest. Those named parts need some deeper explanation. After entering the platform, gamers have different possibilities to engage with. There is their own profile page, where they personalize their appearance (maybe in a role-playing style) and where individual badges/awards are stored; Then there is the main area (public level) and the clan area (group level), with different chat possibilities. The clan formations are based on the tag combination the gamer entered at the start. An example will make this function more explicable: If a gamer entered the tags “DOTA 2”, “Dungeons & Dragons” and “Chess”, he will get an option to join a clan with other gamers which entered the same or similar combinations. These clans are showing up on a spread out field which is the main area of the platform. Inside the clans communication is mainly done in a chat style, sorted by topics. There should always be an overall main chat which all clan members can follow and discuss in. The clans decide if they are a peaceful clan (white flag) or a competitive clan whereas they start engaging in an overall clan competition. Badges can therefore be achieved for individual and for group achievements. The reasons why this platform should be mobile is it’s usage-on-the-go attitude, the chat functionality with push-notifications and it’s basic structure of a assisting network for an existing interest.
The first version will be free from advertising, hopefully having support from investors and crowd funding support. As soon as a considerable number of members is reached, targeted advertising will be included (entertainment industry, game developers, game companies, game merchandise, conventions, etc.). Our group chose the term “adds” as a negative post from our brainstorming session. One concern is the fact that a part of the target group probably consists of people in mixed ages. Nonetheless targeted advertising could still be considered appropriate if it could be done in such a way that information on brands and the social meaning is understood.  A future idea would be that when the platform would be a success and considered at a high value, we can even sell it to a big game company like Nintendo or Microsoft.
Functions that we think are necessary match to some of the social patterns suggested by Crumlish and Malone . In general the detailed level is not decided yet so these are suggestions. It has to be possible to register in order to create an identity. Registration would require giving an email address and a password since a simple registration process as the key factor while deciding if a user stays or leaves the service. Later on there will be a possibility of entering more personal information on the profile page and creating one’s gamer definition. A profile page will be one option and also the use of avatars can perhaps be considered. The user will start with a welcoming tutorial area, where all parts will be explained. The language should be easygoing and adopted to the target group. A search function, allowing the search for other clans, is vital so that gamers can find each other. It will be possible to form clans and possibly clan alliances, where levels, rankings and awards can be used as social recognition. Some form of chat or other means of conversations is an idea, and conversations could take place on different levels, such as public, group or private. An additional idea is to include a live discussion/podcast function, where clan members can discuss via the platform and/or listen and engage with a live specialist podcast (people from the industry)
We believe that this kind of platform where gamers have the opportunity to socialize in ways that resembles their normal gaming habits would encourage them to further explore new networking options. Additionally, it would remind people that sharing their hobbies with others can be much more entertaining than they’d expect.
1. Crumlish, C. Malone, E., (2009) Designing social interfaces: principles, patterns, and practices for improving the user experience. CA, O’Reilly Media, Inc.
2. Preston C. (2005) Advertising to children and social responsibility, Queen Margaret University. Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers, 6, no. 4 (2005): 61-67
This post is a collaborative group post from: Milly, Lexlibrator, Sophiedoesmedia, Gong Liang