ArticlePDF Available

Quantifying Journalism? A Study on the Use of Data and Gamification to Motivate Journalists



According to previous research, contemporary journalism is undergoing a quantitative turn. The uses of data and metrics have started to permeate digital news websites in various ways. However, there is a lack of research on how gamification is applied to journalism practice. This article examines how the quantification of news production, readers’ interactions, and use of game mechanics have started to permeate journalism practice in digital outlets. Methodologically, this article focuses on the sports news website Bleacher Report as case study, drawing data from an analysis of the gamified system in which journalists are quantified and rewarded with points and badges according to their writing metrics, and a set of interviews with journalists who work for Bleacher Report. The results show that while data and metrics become the main component to assess journalists’ capacities, the process of automated quantification and the competitive playfulness of leaderboards are perceived as motivating affordances.
Television & New Media
1 –15
© The Author(s) 2017
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/1527476417697271
Quantifying Journalism? A
Study on the Use of Data
and Gamification to Motivate
Raul Ferrer-Conill1
According to previous research, contemporary journalism is undergoing a
quantitative turn. The uses of data and metrics have started to permeate digital news
websites in various ways. However, there is a lack of research on how gamification
is applied to journalism practice. This article examines how the quantification of
news production, readers’ interactions, and use of game mechanics have started to
permeate journalism practice in digital outlets. Methodologically, this article focuses
on the sports news website Bleacher Report as case study, drawing data from an
analysis of the gamified system in which journalists are quantified and rewarded with
points and badges according to their writing metrics, and a set of interviews with
journalists who work for Bleacher Report. The results show that while data and
metrics become the main component to assess journalists’ capacities, the process
of automated quantification and the competitive playfulness of leaderboards are
perceived as motivating affordances.
journalism practice, quantification, gamification, data, digital journalism, motivation
You need to have a carrot and stick approach, you have to say “we’ll stop hitting with the
stick,” and then when they least expect it, you stab them with the carrot.
—Colbert (November 12, 2013)
1Karlstad University, Sweden
Corresponding Author:
Raul Ferrer-Conill, Karlstad University, Universitetsgatan 2, 65637 Karlstad, Sweden.
697271TVNXXX10.1177/1527476417697271Television & New MediaFerrer-Conill
2 Television & New Media
In the context of news work, the irruption of datafication, defined by Kennedy et al.
(2015, 1) as “the process of rendering into data aspects of the world not previously
quantified,” means a newfound capacity to quantify user engagement with the news.
Traditional news media could only measure news consumption through newspaper
circulation or television viewership. Today, news consumption and production can be
examined in finer detail, monitoring user behavior across news websites. In the world
of digital journalism, metrics and analytics have become an important measurement
for news organizations, allowing them to make assumptions about their own perfor-
mance (Stray 2012). Furthermore, to visualize performance and to motivate produc-
tion, some organizations have started using gamified interfaces that are sustained by
datafication, turning behavior into data and offering digital rewards in exchange for
more interaction.
By studying the case of the sports news website Bleacher Report (B/R), this article
examines the way in which game mechanics and metrics are introduced in a journalis-
tic context, how they are used to motivate journalists and enhance performance, and
what are the reactions of journalists who interact with the system. It argues that there
is a growing trend in news websites that openly embrace data as a measurement for
journalistic performance and that such a development endows data with an agentic
quality that has potential implications for journalism.
This study contributes to the current knowledge about use of data and gamification
in journalistic contexts by analyzing a currently underresearched practice and by
exploring journalists’ attitudes toward such a system. To do so, the article starts by
overviewing the current uses of data in journalism, as well as processes of motivation
in gamification. It continues by introducing the case study, how the B/R system works,
and how it is presented to the writers, how the quantification process is viewed by the
journalists, and how the game mechanics are perceived. The findings suggest three
conclusions. First, while B/R emphasizes its use of gamification as a method to moti-
vate and engage journalists, it also represents an attempt to enhance performance and
productivity. Second, even though journalists lost interest in the gamified platform as
time passed, they increasingly relied on metrics and developed a habit of measuring
their performance through metrics. Third, these practices have implications for how
journalists internalize the value and quality of news and, as a result, the types of infor-
mation to which audiences get access.
The Material Expressions of Data in Journalism
To conceptualize the ways in which data is permeating journalism practice, practitio-
ners and researchers often focus on the instrumental value of data and its incorporation
in existing journalistic processes. As Coddington (2015) discusses, the increasingly
quantitative orientation of journalism expands beyond the notion of big data into other
types of data-oriented practices. The typology suggested by Coddington incorporates
three data-driven journalistic practices. The first one, computer-assisted reporting
Ferrer-Conill 3
(CAR), originated in the 1970s and became an important tool for investigative report-
ing by making use of computer-based data gathering and statistical analysis to find
answers to journalistic queries. The second, data journalism, attempts to make use of
databases—usually open data but also large sets of leaked documents—as a form of
reporting by applying data analysis and new forms of data visualization as a storytell-
ing technique. Finally, computational journalism incorporates computational automa-
tion and algorithmic procedures to automatically produce news content.
This classification does not to take into account the datafication of journalism work
itself. These practices appropriate data as an instrument for journalism practice but do
not reflect all ways in which data are implicated in journalism. Most important, they
do not consider the material forms in which data manifest in journalism contexts. One
material form through which contemporary digital newspapers gauge their perfor-
mance is the metrics of user engagement (Petre 2015). Thus, the value and conse-
quences of the quantification of user-generated data as a measurement for performance
results in an adaptation of journalistic work to keep generating traffic to news sites by
enhancing online participation (Karlsson et al. 2015; Livingstone 2013), personalizing
news experiences (Andersson Schwarz 2016; Liu et al. 2010), crowdsourcing initia-
tives (Aitamurto 2016), or gamified interfaces (Ferrer Conill and Karlsson 2015) as a
form of motivation to potentiate engagement.
The use of metrics is an optimal case to exemplify how data affect journalistic work
(Boczkowski and Mitchelstein 2012). While metrics and web analytics data often refer
to tracking user behavior and engagement with a system, metrics can also result in the
quantification of working processes. Anderson (2011) argues that the prevailing dis-
course about the active audience and the widespread use of quantification of user
behavior has decreased the autonomy of news workers, who now rely on audience
metrics. A similar account is offered by Nguyen (2013) who concludes that web met-
rics are overpowering journalists’ professional judgment. In their study on the influ-
ence of audience clicks and news placement over time, Lee et al. (2014) showed that
audience clicks affect subsequent news placement, and that such influence intensifies
over the course of the day. Tandoc (2015) found that while analytics are mostly used
to monitor traffic, online editors use audience information in their decision-making
processes, showing that data have the power to influence the production of news.
The power of metrics goes beyond the reorganization of news-work dynamics.
Metrics have a capacity to impact journalists’ affective position toward their own
working practices and serve as a measurement of their own performance and impact
(Green-Barber 2014). In her study about metrics used in different journalistic publish-
ers—Gawker Media and the New York Times—Petre (2015) shows that metrics have a
powerful influence over journalists’ emotions and morale, becoming a simultaneous
source of stress and reassurance. The established link between the emotional disposi-
tion of journalists and what they consider a measurement of their performance and
impact results in what Kennedy (2016) calls a “desire for numbers.” Such desire for an
uninterrupted flow of data places metrics and algorithmic quantification as the domi-
nant internal reference for success, often overpowering more established professional
norms and values, such as quality, objectivity, and verification.
4 Television & New Media
The knowledge of such a feature of web metrics can be exploited by news organiza-
tions to further shape news production. These concerns are voiced by Tandoc and
Thomas (2015), who highlight the ethical implications and the dangers of allowing
web analytics to be part of the news construction process, sometimes entangled with a
rhetoric of fun and play. In the following section, I discuss the use of metrics in com-
bination with gamification to appeal to journalists’ sense of fun and at the same time
affect production.
Gamifying Journalistic Production
In the field of journalism, most examples of gamified news target consumers through
visualizations of data, storytelling formats, or loyalty programs. Gamification,
defined as the use of game elements and game design techniques in nongaming con-
texts (Deterding et al. 2011), has been on the rise in recent years. Game mechanics
can take many different forms, such as points, badges, progress bars, or leaderboards.
Anchored in a behavioral model of persuasive technologies (Fogg 2009), which situ-
ates behavior in the interplay of motivation, ability, and triggers, gamification is
broadly used to increase user motivation to perform an activity. According to Werbach
and Hunter (2012), the application of gamification in digital platforms is intended to
enhance user engagement, provide a sensation of choice, reaffirm progression, and
induce social habit.
A gamified system is built upon datafication and visualization processes. It auto-
matically collects, stores, and analyzes behavioral and sentiment data and presents
them back to the user in a playful way, triggering specific emotions. The interface
becomes a proxy for automated interaction, introducing technology as a persuasive
actor (Fogg 2002) by triggering users’ intrinsic motivators to entice a certain action. In
an attempt to incorporate the motivating capacities of games, companies and organiza-
tions increasingly apply gamification to a number of multifaceted everyday practices
(Hamari and Koivisto 2015).
And while most gamification of news is aimed toward users, it is within news pro-
duction where the adoption of gamification offers its most problematic use. This is
because the interplay of the commercial and professional logics of journalism—the
former aiming for financial viability and the latter aiming to guarantee the norms and
values that sustain and legitimize the journalistic profession—problematizes the use of
external practices that may influence journalistic output (Bennett et al. 2012; Hamilton
2006; McManus 1994; McNair 2009).
Theoretically, the gamification of labor is based on the automated quantification of
working activity with the aim of offering immediate feedback and an overview of the
employee’s performance in a playful manner to boost motivation (Werbach and Hunter
2012). On one hand, this is supported by studies that claim that progress, and most
specifically its impact on the worker’s sensation of autonomy, mastery, and related-
ness, contributes to a long-lasting and higher degree of employee motivation (Amabile
and Kramer 2011; Ariely et al. 2009; Deci and Ryan 1985; Pink 2011). On the other
hand, the use of gamification within working environments introduces the worker into
Ferrer-Conill 5
a system ruled by sociotechnical norms embedded in daily practices that often do not
afford an opt-out option. Data-driven gamified interfaces mix labor with play, incor-
porating automated surveilling strategies that constantly track workers’ performances
in what DeWinter et al. (2014) have called Taylorism 2.0, which shifts the debate from
forms of empowerment to practices of exploitation.
In the case of journalism practice, the notion that a journalist could be motivated by
an automated representation of her progress, based on automatically collected data,
presents several problems. Journalism is often understood as a profession with a voca-
tional component (Aldridge and Evetts 2003), and the motivations are expected to
reside within journalistic norms and values. External motivators such as popular, polit-
ical, and commercial pressures can jeopardize journalistic integrity. Even if the playful
experience afforded by the game mechanics aims to create a meaningful experience
(Nicholson 2015), the drivers chosen to motivate the journalist are mainly based on
metrics, which can lead to an attempt to produce news and content for the sole purpose
of performing better in the game. The logics of the game and the journalistic profes-
sional logic may clash, in that they embody diametrically opposed goals. The “desire
for numbers” (Kennedy 2016) could overpower the desire for informing the public by
shifting the motivation of production. When considering the effect of metrics on jour-
nalists, Petre (2015) argued that an open representation of journalistic performance
based on metrics can provide a reward that is not necessarily connected to journalistic
But little research has been undertaken to explore how gamified/datafied systems
are experienced by working journalists. What happens to these values when data, met-
rics, and game mechanics are embedded within journalism and used as mechanisms to
motivate journalists? In the next section, I address this question through an analysis of
the B/R gamified system, the use of quantification to motivate journalists’ perfor-
mance, how quantification is entangled with gamification, and with what effects.
The Case of B/R
This study draws its data from two sources. First, an analysis of B/R, in terms of sys-
tem dynamics and the way it introduces its gamified system to journalists and con-
tributors to the site. Second, semistructured interviews were conducted with B/R staff
members who are familiar with the gamified system. The sample consisted of eleven
participants. Eight respondents had editorial roles (writers, lead columnist, and a dep-
uty editor), were active, experienced contributors, and had achieved high status within
the ranking system. The other three respondents had managerial roles—including a
vice president (VP) of data and analytics and a senior director of strategy. The partici-
pants were interviewed over Skype between February and August 2016. Only one
respondent was female. Questions to the editorial group focused on their interactions
with the system, their experience with the game mechanics and quantification, and
how this experience related to their motivations to produce content. The conversations
with the managers focused on the business, strategy, and technical evolution of B/R.
The interviewees have been anonymized.
6 Television & New Media
The B/R, founded in 2005, is a popular sports news website (ranked 339 in traffic
globally, and 113 in the United States by focusing on American sports
news. The strategic use of data was embedded in the organization’s culture since its
inception. On the one hand, the news production process focused on scale, adopting an
open-source approach in which journalists, writers, and contributors were invited to
create as much content as possible. There were virtually no restrictions to the type and
amount of content a contributor could pitch. On the other hand, the editorial and ana-
lytics departments worked together to study metrics and online search analytics to
produce content that matched topics being searched at the moment. By meeting audi-
ence demands in large amounts of content almost in real time, B/R secured an almost
instant stream of traffic that launched the site’s popularity.
From the start, management at B/R placed data at the core of their production
model. The understanding of the immediacy of metrics placed B/R in an advantaged
position vis-à-vis other digital media publishers that followed traditional production
models. To reach its desired scale of content, B/R offered a platform for aspiring jour-
nalists and sports enthusiasts to contribute content. Only a small fraction of editorial
staff had paid positions. Instead, B/R offered an alternative production model to moti-
vate writers to participate, in which access to a larger audience, a digital reward sys-
tem, and the prospects of a paid position were the main motivators.
In 2012, B/R was acquired by Turner Broadcasting (Bercovici 2012). At this
point, B/R commenced a shift toward a more professional sports news outlet,
slowly abandoning the open-source content production model, prioritizing high-
quality content, and restructuring the writers’ program. According to respondents,
practically all journalists and writers are currently paid, either in contract or free-
lance positions. However, the transition from a fully gamified open system to a
professional venture is still an ongoing process. The B/R interface remained
anchored in the gamified system until the end of 2014 and has since changed con-
siderably, although the game rewards are still present in several places of the site.
When asked about the reason for the change, a senior director of strategy clarified
the organizational shift.
Even before the partnership with Turner, there was a conscious choice to phase out the
old model. We had acquired an audience, and we had provided lots and lots of content
about virtually every topic in professional sports. By 2012 massive amount of content
was not an edge anymore; at that point we needed to change our model and stand out for
top notch quality content.
These changes notwithstanding, B/R as a case offers a unique look at a gamified
journalistic system, which it claims improved the overall quality and motivated writers
to outperform themselves. Regardless of the move away from the gamified model—or
precisely because of this change—this case can be useful to understand how the quan-
tification of journalistic output is received by journalists when the data are used to
assess their own quality, and how journalists perceive the use of gamification as a
motivational driver.
Ferrer-Conill 7
The Rules of a News Production Gamified System
The use of gamification at B/R was apparent both to journalists and readers. However,
it is only the journalists and writers who were the subjects of the gamified “Writer
Rankings” system. The game mechanics were embedded and used in the system in
various forms. First, they were presented to B/R’s writers in the instructions they
received about participation within it. Second, they were linked to the algorithms that
shaped the system, quantifying the performance of each writer and then generating
data about readers’ interaction. Third, the resulting data were displayed in the interface
providing a visual representation of the status of the contributors. This representation
was done in what B/R called “the Power Grid,” a set of leaderboards where writers
were ranked according to different metrics.
The way in which B/R justified its gamified system was as a way to motivate jour-
nalists and contributors. According to the website, the “system is designed to help B/R
authors track their career progress relative to their peers” (“Writer Rankings,” n.d.).
Furthermore, the Rankings “incentivize behavior consistent with the principles of
genuinely ‘great’ sports journalism: authors are encouraged (1) to do their best work
every time they publish and (2) to sustain that effort over the long run” (“Writer
Rankings,” n.d.).
To incentivize behavior, the “Writer Rankings” system used various types of
rewards. First, there were medals and badges, as visual representations of one-time
accomplishments, such as “hot reads” for attracting at least a thousand readers, or
“great debate” for publishing an article that generates at least twenty-five reader com-
ments. The accumulation of reads, comments, or lead stories provided medals of dif-
ferent status in a 7-degree scale, from bronze to diamond. In addition, other badges
could be awarded to writers who participated in the monthly Top Writer competitions.
Authors received points according to their performance, such as winning a Top Writer
badge, or publishing at least one article a day for five consecutive days. These points
accumulated and provided a reputational level according to the number of points a
journalist has. Novice journalists started as Contributor Level I. As points were earned,
the writer would advance through the various levels and, thus, in status. There were six
different positions—Contributor, Correspondent, Analyst, Senior Analyst, Senior
Writer, and Chief Writer—each of which has three different levels. Thus, from 0 points
and a position of Contributor I, a writer who accumulated more than twelve thousand
points would level-up eighteen times to reach the top position of Chief Writer III. In
addition, there was a separate columnist hierarchy for Featured Columnist from level
I to IV.
The gamified system used some of the most common and basic game mechanics:
points, badges, and leaderboards. While the system did not aim to redesign the activity
of writing itself, it aimed to change behavior in writing patterns by introducing a play-
ful element to its community of contributors. According to B/R’s instructions,
The points-and-levels formula of the B/R Writer Ranking system was conceived with the
ultimate aim of allowing every author to chart a unique course on his or her road to the
8 Television & New Media
top. As you pursue your B/R career, your personal point total and reputation level will
give you all the information you need, first, to gauge exactly where you stand among your
peers; and, second, to determine exactly what steps you can take to get ahead of the pack.
After that, all you’ll have to do is sit down at the keyboard and rise to the occasion.
(“Writer Rankings,” n.d.)
This description shows how the “points-and-levels formula” takes a data-driven
representation of writers’ metrics disguised in a playful visualization. Furthermore,
the notions discussed above are operationalized in practice. First, the power of met-
rics demarcates a hierarchical position within the organization, a position that is
often understood as higher-level personal performance. Second, an emotional lan-
guage is used; “being ahead of the pack” is part of the “game.” And, third, as Amabile
and Kramer (2011) propose, progress is the biggest motivator within the working
context, and so the entire B/R system aims to provide a sense of progress and per-
formance to the journalist by offering the promise of “a unique course on his or her
road to the top.”
Using Data to Quantify Journalistic Performance
What was not advertised in the system’s description is the fact that different levels
afforded different perks; from B/R apparel, to events access, and ultimately for those
who reached Featured Columnist level IV, the promise of an interview for a paid posi-
tion. A respondent explains this in the following terms:
As it became apparent that I could actually do this for a living, my only goal was to
advance in the game to reach the final level. They had mentioned there would be an
interview for a paid position to every writer who arrived to the final level. I put all my
efforts on that goal. Eventually I was hired before I reached that point.
Even though the system was framed as a game, the use of datafication and metrics
visualized through the virtual rewards kept pushing users to reach the final reward, the
job interview. The seemingly playful perspective was visible in the interface, but
behind the hierarchy of levels were points obtained by a complicated set of metrics
algorithmically quantified. The metrics provided an automatic summary of the writers’
performance. Those who reached good enough metrics could be granted a paid posi-
tion. The game was for the writers only; what interested B/R were the metrics.
The possibility of becoming a paid journalist for B/R became a problem of scale as
writers excelled in the game, because not all of them could be given paid positions. A
former B/R writer who contributed for three years, unpaid, stated,
That’s when it all went south. I had met all my deadlines, I wrote like a madman, I had
hundreds of thousands of reads, collected all my points, and when I reached the final
level, I requested the interview. Then they told me they were sorry, but that they didn’t
have positions at the moment . . . I felt I was being cheated.
Ferrer-Conill 9
The open-participation production model where contributors were not paid sparked
controversies about the quality of the content on the site and about an incentive model
that some found exploitative (Eskenazi 2012; Schreier 2014). This claim was coun-
tered by others arguing that providing a platform and an audience to aspiring young
writers helped to launch some sport news careers (Kaufman 2012).
Eventually, the open-source system was phased out. Interviewees noted that at
the time of writing, all B/R writers have paid positions and paid assignments, and
either have journalism backgrounds or journalism training. Yet, while the Writers
Ranking is being phased out, most digital rewards still remain on the front end of
the website, linked to the metrics generated by the interaction of readers with the
writers’ output.
Having automatic feedback about the reception of their writing was one of the main
instruments of the B/R system that was well-received by participants. The rewards,
however, are viewed differently among them, and there are ambivalent views on how
those rewards change behavior. On the one hand, one respondent claimed,
It is very useful to see how your texts are being received. If you keep getting better
and you generate more activity from the readers, it pushes you forward. That is what
drives me. The rewards are an added bonus, but the only difference they made is that
I started writing shorter pieces almost every day, because I get more points if I publish
more often.
Whereas another stated,
After the first few months I understood that the badges were just a gimmick that meant
very little. What matters is what triggers the badge, and that is the metric behind the
badge, whether it is for being top writer of one month or achieving the most reads in a
day. What pushed me was to get better numbers.
None of the respondents considered that good metrics translated into journalistic
quality. Nonetheless, they acknowledged that there is value in immediately seeing
whether their articles attract a good number of readers. In addition, none admitted
allowing metrics to dictate the topics they write about. Rather, most claimed that met-
rics modify the way they write.
There is no question that popularity is not the same as quality, but those who manage to
write providing good journalistic information with great entertaining style are those who
will get more reads and comments, and that will totally have an impact on how other
employers look at you. Having thousands of readers on everything I write has opened me
doors to other publications that otherwise would have never been interested in me.
I only write about what I think is important. Selling your style for reads might be tricky,
because when you’ve got a fan base, they will expect something of you . . . if you suddenly
disappoint them, they might lose interest. It is much more important to write consistently
and often than aiming to be popular.
10 Television & New Media
The quantification of their work is, therefore, not perceived as a problem by the
respondents. Instead, they appreciate a system that provides constant feedback, allow-
ing them to see their own performance in terms of metrics, even if they do not consider
these metrics a good measurement of journalistic quality.
Game Mechanics and Public Display of Status: The Power
When asked about the effect of game mechanics on their writing practices, participants
suggested that their motivating effect was stronger in the earlier stages of their time
within the system. With time, it was suggested, the effects of gamification wane, and
what comes to be important is simply the metrics. One participant stated,
I still remember the first few medals I received for being Top Writer. It felt so good
because you knew you were having an impact. A similar thing happened with the points
. . . as long as they kept increasing your levels, it was a good rush. In the last year I barely
looked at points or achievements because I had reached Featured Columnist level four,
and I have over a thousand achievements. Nowadays I only care about the number of
reads and comments I generate because they give me a sense of the impact I have. Having
more than a hundred thousand people read your articles feels amazing.
An exception to this pattern, which was mentioned by four participants, was the
leaderboards, which motivated them to produce extra content to overtake some of their
peers. Another respondent claimed,
After a few months I started seeing the same people popping up in the leaderboards. Even
though it seemed impossible, many times I tried to beat those guys just to see my name
up there.
On the whole, respondents did not consider the game mechanics (points, badges,
reputational levels, and leaderboards) to be fulfilling a sense of autonomy. However,
the system did create a sense of mastery, as the cumulative effect showed their progress.
Most important, gamification is thought to create a feeling of relatedness, as the metrics
and game mechanics were displayed in the site for the whole community to see, readers
and writers alike. A feature that has not been phased out yet is a personalized dashboard
with all the awards and quantified metrics that every contributor to the site has openly
displayed. The number of points, the reputational levels, and the leaderboards are rep-
resentations of the journalists’ status within the community. One respondent stated that,
Getting closer to the top of the leaderboard is a big deal. I can always check how the other
writers are doing and I know how much is left for me to pass them. Then again, I also can
see who’s about to pass me, and that pushes me to try write more and better.
The feature of the leaderboard has also been transformed. Prior to May 2015, the
journalists’ status used to be presented in the Power Grid, which turned news
Ferrer-Conill 11
production into a competition by placing the writers in a leaderboard based on the
writers’ accumulated points. The Power Grid ranked top writers in terms of articles
written, article reads, article likes, comment likes, comments received, comments
written, and number of fans, which could be viewed on aggregate across the whole
site, or filtered according to particular sports. The Power Grid and the status it granted
transcends B/R and spilled over different new media platforms, as one participant
Making it to top writer, even if it is just a sum of metrics, is quite important, especially if
you are a freelancer. Many new media publishers will value your performance in big sites
like B/R and might want to pay you more for your work because you have proof that you
can produce and generate some traffic for the site.
All of the interviewees asserted that the competitive nature of the rankings moti-
vated them to keep writing and aspiring to reach a higher position (and, hence, status)
on the Power Grid. Its new iteration of the Power Grid is a simple Top Writer leader-
board distributed across the different sport-specific sites and is based on reads, and not
any other metric. The degree to which journalists are compared with each other on the
basis of metrics has been substantially reduced.
Conclusion, Limitations, and Future Research
This article focused on how datafication is present in the gamification of news produc-
tion and some of the potential implications for journalists’ perceptions of their work-
ing processes. In itself, gamification is a valuable lens, because not only is it supported
by an automated process of datafication, but it encourages implanting and maintaining
those processes. Without constant quantification and datafication of behavior, gamifi-
cation cannot be sustained. And yet, to legitimize the notion of constant measuring,
gamification adds to datafication the rhetoric of playfulness to make the practice
accessible by disguising datafication with the positive aspects of play.
The example of B/R shows how data and metrics take an increasingly central role
in relation to audience measurement in journalism. Through this case, I have argued
that data impose their power on the journalistic field in two ways. First, analytics and
metrics create an environment where data challenge the traditional epistemological
standpoint of journalism by legitimizing journalistic production through a set of quan-
tified behaviors. As is suggested by various authors (see Beer 2016; Bolin and
Andersson Schwarz 2015; Van Dijck and Poell 2013), the metricated understanding of
user behavior is internalized to translate user metrics into production practices. For
B/R, social metrics—such as number of reads, likes, and shares—are combined with
production metrics—such as number of articles written, frequency of production, and
number of followers—and translated into a metricated version of journalistic perfor-
mance. The respondents who participated in the study view metrics about their writing
favorably. Generally, respondents do not make an assessment about the quality of their
pieces in terms of the metrics, but they do seem to do it for their careers. The more
12 Television & New Media
impact, the higher their career is valued. An assessment that in the past would have
been made via qualitative judgment is now entangled with quantified measurements
based on metrics.
Second, the process of datafication is linked to a set of emotional responses. The
gamified system provided the framework in which the production process—supported
by datafication—could be sustained. Data and metrics were connected to a set of
rewards aimed to incentivize action. If gamification is in place to create habit (Werbach
2014), the habit is to rely on metrics to measure performance and “try to be better than
the pack.” The badges and achievements, and to a certain degree the competition in the
leaderboards, had a motivational effect in the early stages of interaction with the sys-
tem. However, this effect waned with time. What remained was the need to make sense
of personal performance through the metrics. While the journalists interviewed feel
that the digital rewards were fun and exciting, they stopped being relevant and were
replaced by a need for metrics, or as Kennedy (2016) calls it, a “desire for numbers.”
Whether it is as a measurement of success or a motivational feature to keep going, all
respondents felt positive about receiving metrics and data that help them gauge their
impact. As Amabile and Kramer (2011) point out, and in line with Petre’s (2015)
results, the sense of progress and the psychological effect of data and metrics provide
a strong motivator for the journalists at B/R, which becomes a primary measure for
their own performance.
While the journalists did not perceive the quantification and gamification of their
journalism practice as something negative, the fact that system dynamics shape their
production patterns is a cause for concern. This is exemplified by the controversy
about possible exploitative practices and the critique received about quality issues
due to an open-source production model. Such developments—accompanied by the
acquisition by Turner—prompted B/R to slowly change the production model by
renegotiating the power of metrics and a qualitative understanding of news produc-
tion. An organization that was conceived by giving almost unrestrained power to
data and metrics grew in popularity but faced the problems of mixing data logics
with traditional journalistic norms and values. The prevalence of metrics for busi-
ness strategy is still central to its operations—as mentioned by senior manage-
ment—but it requires interplay with the norms and values of news media to establish
the reputation of a legitimate news media outlet. These results are in line with Beer’s
(2016, 179) statement that “metrics become very much a material reality once they
are drawn upon or adopted into social and cultural practice.” For digital journalism,
metrics and data have had an enormous impact and are partly responsible for jour-
nalism’s quantitative turn (Coddington 2015). And yet, their power to explicate
knowledge and engage users and journalists needs to be balanced within traditional
journalistic norms and values—that is, anchored in the cultural environment of jour-
nalism practice. Without this balance, there is too big of a gap between the quantita-
tive, metricated understanding of news and the more qualitative and traditional
notion of journalism, something that could ultimately jeopardize the legitimacy of
news media.
Ferrer-Conill 13
The author wants to gratefully acknowledge Helen Kennedy for her encouragement and her
thorough and impeccable editing.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this
Aitamurto, Tanja. 2016. “Crowdsourcing as a Knowledge-Search Method in Digital Journalism:
Ruptured Ideals and Blended Responsibility.” Digital Journalism 4 (2): 280–97.
Aldridge, Meryl, and Julia Evetts. 2003. “Rethinking the Concept of Professionalism: The Case
of Journalism.” The British Journal of Sociology 54 (4): 547–64.
Amabile, Teresa, and Steven Kramer. 2011. The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite
Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work. Boston: Harvard Business Press.
Anderson, Christopher W. 2011. “Between Creative and Quantified Audiences: Web Metrics
and Changing Patterns of Newswork in Local US Newsrooms.” Journalism 12 (5): 550–66.
Andersson Schwarz, Jonas. 2016. “Public Service Broadcasting and Data-Driven
Personalization: A View from Sweden.” Television & New Media 17 (2): 124–41.
Ariely, Dan, Anat Bracha, and Stephan Meier. 2009. “Doing Good or Doing Well? Image
Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially.” The American Economic
Review 99 (1): 544–55.
Beer, David. 2016. Metric Power. London: Palgrave Macmillan. http://link.springer.
Bennett, W. Lance, Deen G. Freelon, Muzammil Hussain, and Chris Wells. 2012. “Digital
Media and Youth Engagement.” In The SAGE Handbook of Political Communication,
edited by Holli A. Semetko and Margaret Scammell, 127–40. London: Sage.
Bercovici, Jeff. 2012. “Turner Buys Bleacher Report, Next-Gen Sports Site, for $175M-Plus.”
Forbes, August 6.
Boczkowski, Pablo J., and Eugenia Mitchelstein. 2012. “How Users Take Advantage of Different
Forms of Interactivity on Online News Sites: Clicking, E-Mailing, and Commenting.”
Human Communication Research 38 (1): 1–22. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.2011.01418.x.
Bolin, Göran, and Jonas Andersson Schwarz. 2015. “Heuristics of the Algorithm: Big Data,
User Interpretation and Institutional Translation.” Big Data & Society 2 (2): 1–12.
Coddington, Mark. 2015. “Clarifying Journalism’s Quantitative Turn: A Typology for Evaluating
Data Journalism, Computational Journalism, and Computer-Assisted Reporting.” Digital
Journalism 3 (3): 331–48. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.976400.
14 Television & New Media
Deci, Edward L., and Richard M. Ryan. 1985. Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in
Human Behavior. New York: Pantheon Books.
Deterding, Sebastian, Rilla Khaled, Lennart Nacke, and Dan Dixon. 2011. “From Game Design
Elements to Gamefulness: Defining ‘gamification.’” Proceedings of the 15th International
Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments, 9–15. New
York: Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). doi:10.1145/2181037.2181040.
DeWinter, Jennifer, Carly A. Kocurek, and Randall Nichols. 2014. “Taylorism 2.0: Gamification,
Scientific Management and the Capitalist Appropriation of Play.” Journal of Gaming &
Virtual Worlds 6 (2): 109–27.
Eskenazi, Joe. 2012. “Top 5 Ways Bleacher Report Rules the World!” SF Weekly, October
Ferrer Conill, Raul, and Michael Karlsson. 2015. The Gamification of Journalism. In
Emerging Research and Trends in Gamification, edited by Donna Z. Davies and Harsha
Gangadharbatla, 356–83. Hershey: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-8651-9.ch015.
Fogg, Brian J. 2002. Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and
Do. 1st ed. Amsterdam: Morgan Kaufmann.
Fogg, Brian J. 2009. “A Behavior Model for Persuasive Design.” Proceedings of the 4th
International Conference on Persuasive Technology, art. nr. 40. New York: Association of
Computing Machinery (ACM). doi: 10.1145/1541948.1541999.
Green-Barber, Lindsay. 2014. “How Can Journalists Measure the Impact of Their Work?
Notes toward a Model of Measurement.” Nieman Lab, March 19. http://www.nieman-
Hamari, Juho, and Jonna Koivisto. 2015. “Why Do People Use Gamification Services?”
International Journal of Information Management 35 (4): 419–31. doi:10.1016/j.ijin-
Hamilton, James T. 2006. All the News That’s Fit to Sell: How the Market Transforms
Information into News. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Karlsson, Michael, Annika Bergström, Christer Clerwall, and Karin Fast. 2015. “Participatory
Journalism—The (R)evolution That Wasn’t. Content and User Behavior in Sweden 2007–
2013.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 20 (3): 295–311. doi:10.1111/
Kaufman, King. 2012. “The Many Ways SF Weekly Is Wrong about Bleacher Report.” Bleacher
Report, The Writers Blog, October 5.
Kennedy, Helen. 2016. Post, Mine, Repeat. Social Media Data Mining Becomes Ordinary.
London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kennedy, Helen, Thomas Poell, and José Van Dijck. 2015. “Data and Agency.” Big Data &
Society 2 (2): 1–7. doi:10.1177/2053951715621569.
Lee, Angela M., Seth C. Lewis, and Matthew Powers. 2014. “Audience Clicks and News
Placement: A Study of Time-Lagged Influence in Online Journalism.” Communication
Research 41 (4): 505–30. doi:10.1177/0093650212467031.
Liu, Jiahui, Peter Dolan, and Elin Rønby Pedersen. 2010. “Personalized News Recommendation
Based on Click Behavior.” Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on
Intelligent User Interfaces. New York: Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).
Livingstone, Sonia. 2013. “The Participation Paradigm in Audience Research.” The
Communication Review 16 (1–2): 21–30.
Ferrer-Conill 15
McManus, John H. 1994. Market-Driven Journalism: Let the Citizen Beware? Thousand Oaks:
McNair, Brian. 2009. “Journalism and Democracy.” In The Handbook of Journalism
Studies, edited by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and Thomas Hanitzsch, 237–50. International
Communication Association Handbook Series. New York: Routledge.
Nguyen, An. 2013. “Online News Audiences: The Challenges of Web Metrics.” In Journalism:
New Challenges, edited by Karen Fowler-Watt and Stuart Allan, 146–61. Poole: Centre for
Journalism and Communication Research, Bournemouth University.
Nicholson, Scott. 2015. “A RECIPE for Meaningful Gamification.” In Gamification in
Education and Business, edited by Torsten Reiners and Lincoln C. Wood, 1–20. New York:
Springer International Publishing.
Petre, Caitlin. 2015. “The Traffic Factories: Metrics at Chartbeat, Gawker Media, and The New
York Times.” Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
Pink, Daniel H. 2011. Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. New York:
Penguin Books.
Schreier, Tom. 2014. “The Top 200 Ways Bleacher Report Screwed Me over.” Deadspin, July
Stray, Jonathan. 2012. “Metrics, Metrics Everywhere: How Do We Measure the Impact of
Journalism?” Nieman Lab, August 17.
Tandoc, Edson C. 2015. “Why Web Analytics Click: Factors Affecting the Ways Journalists
Use Audience Metrics.” Journalism Studies 16 (6): 782–99. doi:10.1080/14616
Tandoc, Edson C., and Ryan J. Thomas. 2015. “The Ethics of Web Analytics: Implications of
Using Audience Metrics in News Construction.” Digital Journalism 3 (2): 243–58. doi:
Van Dijck, José, and Thomas Poell. 2013. “Understanding Social Media Logic.” Media and
Communication 1 (1): 2. doi:10.17645/mac.v1i1.70.
Werbach, Kevin. 2014. “(Re) Defining Gamification: A Process Approach.” In Persuasive
Technology, LNCS 8462, edited by Anna Spagnolli, Luca Chittaro, and Luciano Gamberini,
118–36. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
Werbach, Kevin, and Dan Hunter. 2012. For the Win: How Game Thinking Can Revolutionize
Your Business. Philadelphia: Wharton Digital Press.
“Writer Rankings.” n.d. Bleacher Report.
Author Biography
Raul Ferrer-Conill is a PhD candidate in media and communication studies at Karlstad
University, Sweden. He has published his work in Computer Supported Cooperative Work
(CSCW), Journalism Studies, and The Business of Gamification, among others. His current
research interests cover gamification, processes of datafication, native advertising and digital
... Firstly, participatory media practices make it much easier to track and gauge the users' attitudes (Ferrer-Conill, 2017). Due to digital metrics, companies know more about users than they knew before (Tandoc, 2014). ...
Full-text available
This study investigates how users perceive their wellbeing amid the risks associated with digital media use in Norway. According to the literature, some of these risks include digital dependence, online privacy, scams, thefts, information misuse, and harassment. To expand knowledge on how these and other digital risks are construed by users, this study addresses the following research questions: What implications do digital risks have on users’ perceived sense of wellbeing? What are the solutions proposed by users to manage these risks? Methodologically, the inquiry is led through a qualitative approach comprising 17 semi-structured in-depth interviews of university students in Norway. The investigation centers on an interpretative phenomenological analysis. This study contributes to the existing literature by empirically evaluating the notion of digital wellbeing in the everyday choices of university students, thereby comprehending their safety concerns and how they manage online risks while exploring solutions to combat the risks of digital usage. The study adds value to the present literature on digital wellbeing by juxtaposing digital risks with the construct of wellbeing in digitalized societies.
... Thus, gamification comes from the game and has been applied to various fields. For example, gamification has been used for the improvement of healthy habits [7], for business [8] and, for politics and news [9]. In all these approaches, elements or mechanics of the games have been used to be gamified and being used as a technique, method, or strategy [4]. ...
Full-text available
Gamification research area is a consolidated topic since 2011, where the main definition appears. Despite a lot of academic documents reporting evidence in the field of gamification in education, and frameworks to design the gamification process, only few of them are focused on the unplugged educational contexts. So, in this paper we are focused on the definition of unplugged gamification considered previous research and proposals from the education field. The evidence shows that the field is still in its infancy and more research is needed, in order to determine and evidence the pros or cons of this kind of gamification (unplugged gamification) in comparison to gamification supported with technologies (plugged gamification).KeywordsGamificationUnpluggedSystematic reviewEducation
... En la actualidad, la literatura internacional sobre rutinas y procesos de trabajo en las redacciones incorpora las consecuencias del uso intensivo de sistemas de métricas y lógica algorítmica, como un factor condicionante en los modos en que se selecciona y se edita información (Anderson, 2011;Bunce, 2017;Ferrer-Conill;Lee y Tandoc, 2019;Suenzo, Boczkowski, y Mitchelstein, 2020;Zamith, 2018), e incluso como criterio de evaluación de productividad de periodistas (Retegui, 2020). ...
Full-text available
El artículo propone un análisis de las rutinas productivas y de las condiciones laborales en la redacción de La Nación, desde una perspectiva de género, y en el contexto de aislamiento por la pandemia de Covid-19. A su vez, de manera complementaria, se sumó un estudio cuantitativo de los encuadres periodísticos en torno a la Interrupción Voluntaria del Embarazo (IVE), durante el mes de diciembre de 2020. Esta articulación permitió comprender, de un modo más integral, cómo la estructura organizacional de un medio y sus condiciones de producción dejan huellas en la selección, jerarquización y tratamiento noticioso de un tema clave en la lucha por la ampliación de los derechos de género. Entre los resultados, observamos que La Nación, uno de los medios más importantes y tradicionales de Argentina, presenta en su cúpula directiva y en la redacción periodística una organización desigual en todas las dimensiones analizadas, en tanto los hombres ocupan los puestos de mayor jerarquía y las mujeres son relegadas en la base piramidal y en secciones consideradas “blandas o feministas”. La brecha también se encuentra en los salarios y en condiciones laborales más precarias e inestables, acentuadas por el escenario de aislamiento en pandemia, el cual resultó en “doble jornada” para las trabajadoras de prensa (madres), por la prescripción del trabajo remoto sin organización social del cuidado por parte de la empresa. A su vez, el trabajo de campo permitió observar cómo se reproducen en el ámbito laboral prejuicios y estereotipos por razones de sexo. Desde los estudios de género y feministas, entendemos que el orden patriarcal impone relaciones de poder signadas por la inferioridad de las mujeres frente a los hombres, y define una organización social basada en las diferencias sexo-genéricas que incluye desde la división del trabajo hasta las construcciones de sentido en torno a problemáticas y necesidades sociales. En esa línea, el análisis de contenido sobre las noticias periodísticas publicadas, durante el mes en el que se sancionó la IVE, arrojó datos sobre autorías y fuentes que resultan de interés para reflexionar acerca de los encuadres que efectivamente quedan plasmados en los textos noticiosos. Sobre un total de 229 notas, observamos que sólo el 20,5% incluyó la firma de una mujer. Además, la mayoría de las fuentes que se utilizaron como principales fueron masculinas y, cuando se priorizaron las fuentes femeninas, se tendió a la polarización.
Full-text available
This dissertation explores how a shift in the format of news distribution prompted changes in journalistic practices when the Public Service Media (PSM) organization Sveriges Radio (SR) started distributing news via digital playlists. Thereby, it provides much-needed empirical footing to the ongoing normative debates about how PSM should navigate a media landscape characterized by datafication, algorithmic technologies, and automation, in short, platformization. The shift in format, and the accompanying changes in practices, is studied through the theoretical lens of cultural techniques (Siegert, 2015a), with an emphasis on techniques for formatting (Sterne, 2012), classification, and standardization. The dissertation argues that such theories can be fruitful as they highlight the material aspects of journalistic practices (Ryfe, 2018), boundary work, and news valuation, which remain under-discussed in Journalism studies. Studying the role of techniques for formatting in journalism is proposed as especially productive; it gears attention towards media formats and how they, as boundary objects, articulate processes of distribution and production and cause previously distinct actors, sites, and ways of knowing to intermingle. A technographic (Bucher, 2012) methodology consisting of observations, interviews, and walkthroughs (Light et al., 2018) was applied at SR between 2018 and 2023. These methods encourage the study of often-overlooked actors highly relevant to how contemporary journalism is produced, like Content Management Systems (CMS) and the designers who shape their nudging features. The empirical chapters demonstrate how the development and implementation of the online playlists encompass the establishment, contestation, and dismantling of several journalistic boundaries. For example, an ambition with the playlists was to maintain the distinctiveness of SR as a public service organization in an online environment. However, by studying the practices actually employed to produce news for playlist distribution, the analysis shows that the boundary between practices for public service and commercial newswork often becomes turbid. For instance, managers use ideas surrounding the distracted digital news listener to encourage journalists to make their playlist news shorter, more to the point, and to a higher degree embellished with appealing environmental sounds. Meanwhile, how SR engaged with other aspects of the format, like digital data, could be seen as in some ways maintaining a distinction between PSM and commercial media. While most of the latter rely heavily on data produced by audience interactions to automate their online news flows, SR uses data generated by how editors classify news in the company CMS. Showing how datafication, algorithms, and automation work in non-commercial settings is an intervention that unsettles the totalizing discourses surrounding these phenomena that abound in Journalism studies. The study concludes by stating that, while normative discussions about the platformization of PSM are important, public service is what public service does. A significant part of what PSM does is developing various software formats to deal with platformization. It then follows that research interested in the digitization of PSM should take a greater interest in these formats and the techniques associated with their production and implementation.
This paper explores the implementation process of digital audience metrics as a key strategy in Swedish legacy news production during the last three decades. The historical adoption of metrics in the newsroom is not new but has grown fast (from analogue audience measurements in the 1950s and monthly statistics of unique visitors in the 1990s to a wide range of real-time data). This trend is important because Swedish news organisations have invested heavily in data analytics, which involves integrating metrics-driven journalism into a particularly strong and homogenous tradition of professional autonomy. Based on interviews with key senior managers and supported by the analysis of trade publications, as well as published interviews, the findings reveal three chronologically overlapping periods: the naïve stage of ‘getting online’, the destructive period of ‘social media prominence’, and the end of the ‘paywall hesitation’. This trend has led to a new equilibrium in which audience metrics are perceived as better aligned with the professional values of news selection. More importantly, the industry-wide embrace of metrics as guidance for more relevant and rational news production revolves around two main factors: First, although metrics are tied to organisational targets, they remain under editorial control. Second, the degree of granularity and diversification of metrics allow for wider support of their use for strategic purposes.
This essay argues that there are overlooked yet important journalistic beliefs, norms, rules and practices regarding, aesthetics, automation, distribution, engagement, identity, and proximity that could be a part of formalized codes of ethics. There are four reasons why these should be formalized. First, making the implicit normative dimensions explicit allow for a shared understanding of journalism, cutting across institutional borders. Second, it promotes a more unified and homogenized understanding of journalism across the institution based on those shared explicit norms (normative isomorphism). Third, it reduces the fuzziness of these codes and sharpens their functions as boundary objects, simplifying the negotiation between journalists and audiences. Fourth, and finally, these implicit codes might be an untapped resource that could make journalism better connect with citizens and increase its legitimacy. The paper offers two main contributions to journalism studies. First, it shows that elements of journalistic practice and culture that seem disparate in fact play similar institutional roles, forming boundary objects as sites of tension where codes are negotiated by different actors. Second, systematizing these informal codes into the style of traditional codes of ethics renders them more visible and could help journalism scholars understand the uneven formation and evolution of journalistic norms.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As concerns about the legitimacy of media language continues to rise, some experts attributed these rapid changes to the advent of social media. While social media may be a great tool to proximate news to audiences, give a better understanding, allow for engagement and participation, it is necessary to examine the manner in which media houses use language to achieve these results. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the language used by media houses to increase audience engagement and participation on social media platforms. The study was qualitative research that examined the social media metrics of media houses. The social media platform used for the study was Facebook because it is largely used by media houses in Ghana. The results showed that audience engagement varies across news categories like politics, entertainment, educations, public interest and economics, Media houses used direct speeches used by sources or subjects of news as headlines and some specific words were used frequently. This study allows practitioners to understand the effects of language on social media engagement and participation thus sharpening their craft.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Gamification research area has been a consolidated topic since 2011 when the main definition appeared. Despite many academic documents reporting evidence in the field of gamification in education and frameworks to design the gamification process, only a few of them are focused on unplugged educational contexts. So, in this paper, we are focused on the definition of unplugged gamification, considering previous research and proposals from the education field. The evidence shows that the field is still in its infancy, and more research is needed to determine and evidence the pros or cons of this kind of gamification (unplugged gamification) compared to gamification supported with technolo-gies (plugged gamification).
This article aims to present a debate over the increasingly complex and widespread use of measurement indicators and performance of digital content in the journalistic industry, considering the case study of La Nación, one of the leading news institutions in Argentina. The paper reconstructs the introduction and architecture of metrics measurement in the newsroom of La Nación, and the journalists’ perceptions and experiences regarding these organizational changes. The focus will be on the adoption of the Score, an algorithmic metric developed in-house at La Nación, designed with journalistic input and eventually modified to include economic factors. The findings confirming the tensions between professional and commercial logics produced by adopting digital metrics in the newsroom; and suggesting that journalists experiences metrics as strong disciplining influence. All this is involved in an uncertain context implicating the financing of Argentinean digital media along with the decline in the traditional journalistic business model.
Full-text available
Over the past decade, social media platforms have penetrated deeply into the mech­anics of everyday life, affecting people's informal interactions, as well as institutional structures and professional routines. Far from being neutral platforms for everyone, social media have changed the conditions and rules of social interaction. In this article, we examine the intricate dynamic between social media platforms, mass media, users, and social institutions by calling attention to social media logic—the norms, strategies, mechanisms, and economies—underpin­ning its dynamics. This logic will be considered in light of what has been identified as mass me­dia logic, which has helped spread the media's powerful discourse outside its institutional boundaries. Theorizing social media logic, we identify four grounding principles—programmabil­ity, popularity, connectivity, and datafication—and argue that these principles become increas­ingly entangled with mass media logic. The logic of social media, rooted in these grounding principles and strategies, is gradually invading all areas of public life. Besides print news and broadcasting, it also affects law and order, social activism, politics, and so forth. Therefore, its sustaining logic and widespread dissemination deserve to be scrutinized in detail in order to better understand its impact in various domains. Concentrating on the tactics and strategies at work in social media logic, we reassess the constellation of power relationships in which social practices unfold, raising questions such as: How does social media logic modify or enhance ex­isting mass media logic? And how is this new media logic exported beyond the boundaries of (social or mass) media proper? The underlying principles, tactics, and strategies may be relat­ively simple to identify, but it is much harder to map the complex connections between plat­forms that distribute this logic: users that employ them, technologies that drive them, economic structures that scaffold them, and institutional bodies that incorporate them.
Full-text available
This introduction to the special issue on data and agency argues that datafication should not only be understood as the process of collecting and analysing data about Internet users, but also as feeding such data back to users, enabling them to orient themselves in the world. It is important that debates about data power recognise that data is also generated, collected and analysed by alternative actors, enhancing rather than undermining the agency of the public. Developing this argument, we first make clear why and how the question of agency should be central to our engagement with data. Subsequently, we discuss how this question has been operationalized in the five contributions to this special issue, which empirically open up the study of alternative forms of datafication. Building on these contributions, we conclude that as data acquire new power, it is vital to explore the space for citizen agency in relation to data structures and to examine the practices of data work, as well as the people involved in these practices.
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
In this book, Helen Kennedy argues that as social media data mining becomes more and more ordinary, as we post, mine and repeat, new data relations emerge. These new data relations are characterised by a widespread desire for numbers and the troubling consequences of this desire, and also by the possibility of doing good with data and resisting data power, by new and old concerns, and by instability and contradiction. Drawing on action research with public sector organisations, interviews with commercial social insights companies and their clients, focus groups with social media users and other research, Kennedy provides a fascinating and detailed account of living with social media data mining inside the organisations that make up the fabric of everyday life.
Meaningful gamification is the use of gameful and playful layers to help a user find personal connections that motivate engagement with a specific context for long-term change. While reward-based gamification can be useful for short-term goals and situations where the participants have no personal connections or intrinsic motivation to engage in a context, rewards can reduce intrinsic motivation and the long-term desire to engage with the real world context. If the goal is long-term change, then rewards should be avoided and other game-based elements used to create a system based on concepts of meaningful gamification. This article introduces six concepts—Reflection, Exposition, Choice, Information, Play, and Engagement—to guide designers of gamification systems that rely on non-reward-based game elements to help people find personal connections and meaning in a real world context.
Conference Paper
Gamification is a growing phenomenon of interest to both practitioners and researchers. There remains, however, uncertainty about the contours of the field. Defining gamification as “the process of making activities more game-like” focuses on the crucial space between the components that make up games and the holistic experience of gamefulness. It better fits real-world examples and connects gamification with the literature on persuasive design.