As a game designer, thinking about all the different means of interaction my players can have with my game is key. “How can I design this system so that they are more immersed? How can I design this encounter so that my players are having more fun? How can I better facilitate flow and positive feedback?”
These are only a few of the questions I ask myself when I’m designing a game, but these questions in particular, I think, apply especially to social media strategy development.
Thinking about it, social media and game design have a lot in common. Both of these mediums, by their very nature, garner more active participation from their audiences. Due to this increased level of constant interactivity, it makes details such as UX and UI important factors to consider before launching a social media campaign or new game: “What kind of user experience am I trying to create? What sort of interface do I need to design to make this user experience more accessible?” In games, the importance of well-designed UX/UI is more easily evident–a game that has a terrible control scheme will make it difficult for the player to fully immerse themselves in the game if they’re constantly fighting with the controller. Likewise, directing your audience to a poorly designed website will turn away potential consumers if they’re not able to immediately make sense of where they’re supposed to go or what your company stands for.
Both video games and social media are immersive activities which facilitate flow.
Cognitive flow is a psychological term that refers to a state in which one is able to lose themselves in an activity to the point where they lose track of time, and want to continue immersing themselves within that activity. One of the ultimate goals of game design is to design a game that facilitates a constant state of flow in our players, and one of the goals of a good social media marketing strategy should be to maintain the constant interest of our audience.
It’s interesting to think about how much social media and game design have in common, and I think that understanding the basic tenants of game design will give anyone looking into going for a career in communications a significant edge.