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News is Not Fun: why gamifying the news is harder than we think

Gamification is the introduction of gameplay elements into real world activity. It's been a hot topic since the success of Foursquare, and talks by major figures like Jesse Schell and Jane McGonigal have had people thinking about the use of gameplay to promote customer engagement, activism, health, and even the news (as first introduced by Chris O'Brien at the MediaShift's "How Can We 'Gamify' the News Experience?").

Unfortunately, news might be un-gamifiable: this talk will deal with what gamification is, how to build a proper game structure around news sharing, and why now might be a good time to re-examine how we write and share news online (spoiler: it's not fun and isn't supposed to be).

OpenFile, Foursquare, Health Month, and Digg are the not-so unrelated case studies that will be discussed to examine if we can really make news fun and informative in a bold platform.


Travis Boisvenue has been tweeting and blogging about serious video game criticism for nearly four years, and has been active as a freelance journalist for just as long. As a contributor to both major print newspapers (Ottawa Citizen) and the new wave of online news (OpenFile), he says he's lucky to be on the front lines of journalism's rapid digital evolution.

He's also Senior Producer at MediaStyle, a progressive communications firm out of Ottawa that focuses on social media training and web content production.

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