Thursday, February 12, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Your Game Level in resume: Carrot and Stick

More and more I am finding that the 40+ years old professionals include not just address and phone number in their e-signatures but also their links to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Blog, website profiles.

I understand this rise. After all we all want to be found by our fans, friends, colleagues, recruiters, prospects and customers.

This same generation also seem to believe that they are associating only their professional side when doing this explicit web outreach. When I asked some of these folks, what information they want to include in their "professional" outreach, the answer that emerged is:

"Write anything about myself that may not lead someone to think negatively about me."

As a result, many from this generation avoid writing and sharing information about their personal beliefs and non work-related activities. This act of censoring oneself (and there are of course exceptions) could be that when they tried to reveal and share, their own collective history repressed and/or discriminated them. They got more stick than carrot.

In contrast, the under-40 generation seem to embrace the idea that they live in the post-modern (pomo), post-discrimination, post-repression world. Readers and writers from this generation do not care who one is. They care more about finding a common interesting point to connect with the other. They believe that sharing leads to better understanding of the other. They post their personal beliefs including religion, ethnicity, gender, political views more often than the above-40 generation. This group got more carrot than stick.

In this under-40 professional world, the web interaction includes:
- A writer of a web banter, who believes that "I should share who I am; this sharing is a better way to communicate and inform the reader about me", even if the sharing can be pure fiction.
- A reader, who is expected to agree that "I, the Reader will judge you, -- the writer, only by your writing. I will determine if I should have the next round of conversation with you. I will not discriminate against you because whatever and whoever you are. All this information you shared beyond the writing at hand is only a way for me to understand the writing better."

Is the above post-modern web interaction a new type of interaction? Not at all. It is an interaction repackaged from the "criticism and review world" of more than 150 years. The only difference is that in the past, this "criticism and review world" was more elitist and "expert based" where-as now it is democratized in the "Comments to posts" section.

As an example of such an interaction, I read an interesting article that discusses the growing trend to include "game levels achieved" in one's resume.
"Play games with your resume."

As we know, a resume is a form of communication that is meant to make the reader become more curious about the writer. Adding information about one's gaming experience might appear to be weird to the above-40 generation, but I perceive this new information as a mere replacement of old categories, such as fraternities/sororities membership, Mensa society, awards etc.

Recently a twenty-year old undergraduate inserted many f-bombs and wrote in a very casual style his "personal statement." This essay was part of his application package to a Ph.D program at a well known university. Needless to say, it was shocking to the members of the Graduate Admissions committee who reviewed his application and they asked questions such as:
"What has the world come to?"
"What kind of writing is our high schools and colleges teaching these days?"
"When did basic decency and formality end?"

I do not know the committee's decision on his application. But it sure gave me the answer to my question, "where can the generational divide between under-40 and above-40 become less of a divide?"

Web exposure is still about a writer trying to influence the reader and begin a conversation. That desire has not changed in 3000 years of human-kind, only the categories and norms keep getting redefined.

To that regard, I believe, that "bad writing" is "bad writing." When a profile, essay, blog entry, resume suffers from "bad writing" and/or is not interesting to the reader, then the writer should get the stick. A reader should NOT go to that next round of conversation.

When "bleeping" words are unnecessarily placed in a sentence by a writer it reveals the writer is neither innovative, nor unique. Also it is BORING. Unless the writer is George Carlin, no one in the past had success with such stylistic choice. The writer should get the stick. The reader should NOT go to that next round of conversation.

Here are my thoughts on bad writing:
1. If a web writer writes "hate and kill" speech, as a potential reader I think these posts/write-ups are an example of:
(i) bad and misplaced rhetoric
(ii) bad writing
(iii) bad investment of time, because in this pomo world there will be very few avid followers.
Such writers should get the stick by not giving a minute of web time in reading it

2. If a web writer writes about intimate minutia of their lives on a public forum that is searchable by all, as a potential reader I think these posts/write-ups are:
(i) TMI
(ii) another example of bad writing
(iii) profoundly boring.
I leave it to the readers to decide whether to give the writer the stick. I would give the stick.

Read "25 Things I Didn't Want to Know about You" to understand what I am saying.

3. If a web writer posts pictures or notes about their illegal activities on a public forum that is searchable by all, then I think:
(i) the person who posts should be prepared to face consequences.
(ii) some of these postings may or may not be bad writing.
(iii) writers of such posts (other than political activists) have not grown out of their teenage need to show defiance. That itself can be a sure start to bad writing.
If stylistically it is boring and bad writing, then the writer should get the stick.

Aside from these, most content and information-sharing should be fair game for "posts", "comments". Then let the readers and their "criticism and review" skills decide whether the writer gets the stick or the carrot.

In conclusion:
1. The market is web-interactions where sellers are writers and buyers are readers.
2. The currency of trade is carrots and sticks.
3. The economic utility function of the reader includes the style, common point of interest, boring/interesting).
4. The market is not laisse-faire but has some minimal guidelines related to definitions of bad writing.

If my generation -- the above-40 internalizes the above, and meanwhile the under-40 generation stop indicating that they are doing something innovative and unique, then this generational divide will be less divisive.

So! In this job market, go ahead of others and put your gamer profile in your resume.

One of these days, we might even consider hiring you.

Serious Gaming for Positive Outcomes

A recent story at goes into a study showing relationships between violent video games (along with various Internet usage) and mental health. The upside is investigators also noted a "plethora of positive outcomes" from other Internet usage, such as for schoolwork. This study will hopefully further the use of serious games to produce positive outcomes in the workforce.

Crossing the Gender Divide

Crossing the Gender Divide
As I was traveling to Florida for a much needed break from the frigid weather (too bad there was no escaping it!!!), and this article in Sky magazine caught my eye. You know gaming is becoming ubiquitous when the airlines are recognizing it! It said many of today’s video games are shedding their decidedly male "skins" and reaching out to female players with both avatars and themes designed specifically for “girl gamers”. Not only are women playing more games but they are going back to the classroom to get advanced degrees in computer programming so they can create the games themselves! Girls shouldn’t have to play “boy” games. They shouldn’t have to blow things but be able to find games that suit their interests. This makes sense since 40% of the gamers are women. Casual games such as puzzle and word games also have a solid female audience. The ones that can be consumed in a short interval appeal to women as well. The phrase coming to the forefront is ‘Chick Click”!! Here are some friendly chick sites:
For the whole article here is the link
Enjoy and let’s get gaming girls!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wii Saturation Point

To be honest, I'm always presently surprised by the Wii's continued sales success. After the initial fun of many casual games though, I keep looking forward to the next game of substance that isn't a GameCube port... I still play Super Mario Galaxy. Many regular gamers I talk to have reach a similar point as well. With the casual gamer niche the Wii has found along with game development costs, especially in current economic conditions, it's hard to expect anything epic.

At the same time, it does make it confusing to imagine Nintendo possibly releasing a more expensive HD console as discussed on many sites. I wonder what how many casual gamers would be willing to re-buy unless there were additional hardware updates... more accurate controls, etc.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Google failing! Is that the sign of our times?

Yesterday, Google claimed that a "simple human error" brought the world as we know it -- Google empire down for 55 minutes. I am glad humans still play a role in technology. However, we have to find ways to stop human errors --- may be play our Games.

Google cannot afford this downtime. Is it the beginning of the end?

Data Rich Game Play

Finally! There is some recognition on how decisions made in game-play might create a rich data set and give documented knowledge. We do that at PAKRA. Read on ...