Gamification: Going Back for Seconds

Our final Blog post subject for #KSUDSM this semester was Student’s Choice. For many courses I have taken over the years, this might have been a recipe for a quick easy and out assignment. This, however, feels more like walking into a grand buffet, where you have sampled a little something from each of the major food groups (many for the first time) in the last few weeks and despite still being a little hungry, you are told to choose just one item from the menu. Surprisingly enough, to me, I think my choice will be Gamification.

Pong was the big video game break through when I was growing up. Players turned a little knob to make a paddle (a small vertical dash) go up or down on one of the two vertical edges of the screen. The screen itself was black and the paddles were green. The idea was to block the small, slow moving, glowing dot from getting past your paddle. That was pretty much the entire strategy. No other problem solving challenge and no advertising or branding opportunities. Of course, Gamification is actually much more than that. I think this subject most intrigued me because of all the interesting social media we covered these past weeks, this one appears to have such a diverse impact and applicability.

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Thank You Mr. Stafford

I credit Mr. Stafford, my 7th grade History teacher, with opening my eyes to the power of the story. Ironically, he did so not by means of a bloviated lecture, rather with the simple use of a well-placed hyphen. On day 1 of class, before saying anything else, he declared, “this subject is simply about man and ‘His-Story’ ”, as he wrote the words in large bold print on the chalk board (yes, I’m that old. No white boards yet). He then paused, for effect, before moving on. It was like turning on a light within my developing juvenile mind. Dating back to the cave man, so much of what we know, learn, and remember was passed on to us in story form. Initially, in cave paintings (and no, I’m not that old), then stories by the elders around the camp fire, then eventually the written word. What Mr. S could not have known at that time was that, driven by this ever increasing growth of information, his simplistic style of explanation that day would become the dominate style of storytelling in the future.


Knowledge Doubling Curve (Jones, 2014)

Buckminister Fuller, futurist and inventor, introduced the Knowledge Doubling Curve. In his book, Critical Path, he laid out an ever decreasing window of time in which, due to increases in technology, our collective knowledge doubles. When his book was published in 1982 he estimated that human knowledge was doubling about every 18 months. IBM predicts that with continued internet growth, and additional advances in communication and data storage, turnaround will soon be just 12 hours (Schilling, 2013). Considering this, the development and growth of today’s social media options was inevitable.


Visual vs Text (Kusinitz, 2014)


Marketers today are helping us bridge the information gulf, and better find our way to their products or services, by engaging that same inherent desire of the cavemen to visually share a story with the collaborative assets provided by social media technology. Research shows that “the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than the time it takes for the brain to decode text” and adding compelling visual elements and graphics to a message can contribute to up to 94% more views (Kusinitz, 2014).

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Under Armour Steps Into a Hornet Nest

SM-boycottHunting dates back to the dawn of time. Somewhere along the line it transformed from an activity of necessity, to survive, to one of sport. Over 16 million people hunt every year. Women make up over 11% of that number. In the last couple of years, Under Armour (UA) has set out to make an impact in that market. To promote the products in their new UAHunt line, top endorsements from popular athletes in the field were retained, including a big push within the women’s hunting segment. The popularity of their sponsored athletes, both men and women, has been evitent by the popular following of their social media sites. Despite it’s popularity, sport hunting is one of the most polarizing activities. It sparks passionate debates that can leave supporting businesses tip toing through social media mine fields, as UA recently discovered.

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Next Stop…Social Media Awareness

I am looking forward to some fast passed learning with #ksudsm. Although it will  be a really short, world wind tromp through social media. Trying to name three aspects of this mysterious world that I look forward to learning is a little like trying to decide what I think I might find most interesting about an upcoming exploration of unicorns. Both propositions leave me fairly indecisive. I am reasonably confident at this point that you cannot put your finger on either and that everyone has a slightly different image of them. The mere fact that I learned new words by just reading our course syllabus assures me that I


Borrowed from (CC0)

know I do not know what I do not know. None the less I will begin there.


I have heard of, and read a little about, Gamification, but Transmedia is a completely new term for me. Enticing a learner to explore multiple platforms in order to follow a story, while subconsciously learning, is an intriguing idea. One of my challenges, as a training developer, is how to most efficiently prepare a new employee for the role they are about to take on, without totally overloading their mind with days of consecutive single subject servings of CBTs. On the one hand, they sure seem eager to get out of the classroom and out into their new role under this approach, despite the contrasting ambient temperatures of a brisk 73° classroom and a sweltering manufacturing environment that averages above 95°. However, the missing link is how to realistically tie the various subjects together, in order to better build a transferable set of skills for our new team members. An increased understanding of both gamification and transmedia may enhance that effort. Continue reading

Final Paper Outline for IDC 6010 Has @realDonaldTrump Accelerated the Decline of Presidential Campaign Rhetoric, if so, Should We Be So Surprised?

I. Is there a decline? Flyover of negative Presidential campaign rhetoric

  • a. Pre-Television / Social Media Era
  • b. Modern Era
  • c. Current Election Campaign

II. Political Campaign Strategy

  • a. FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
  • b. Political Communication Strategy

III. The People

  • a. Writers
  • b. Followers (potential voters)

IV. Next Election?


Literature Reviewed

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FUD as a Strategy

So who doesn’t love a good negative campaign ad? We say we don’t, but every election is dubbed the most negative in history. This chart, by the Wesleyan Media Project, shows the steady decline in positive ads during the last few National campaigns. With four months to go, the 2016 election shows no signs of slowing the trend (Wilson, 2016). While technological advances in media has no doubt helped that trend grow in all new creative ways, it is by no means a new phenomenon. With the possible exception of our first president, who of course ran unopposed, there are examples of dastardly strategic statements sprinkled throughout our history.WesleyanMediaProject

Many point to our country’s first contested presidential campaign in 1800, between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Jefferson supporters spread stories claiming that Adams had plans to “marry off his son to the daughter of King George III, creating an American dynasty under British rule (Mark, 2006). As is the style with many political attacks, this was a claim that was hard to refute. Adams attempted return shots to Jefferson, but the damage was done and Jefferson went on to win.

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We Know Who Said It, but Who Wrote It?


borrowed from Pixabay

Some of the most eloquent and moving speeches uttered by Presidents and political candidates in this country since its founding were actually written by authors whose footsteps echo silently through the corridors of this country’s political landmarks. Traditionally, the task of writing for a political leader is considered very collaborative and usually anonymous. History may leave indications of a writer’s involvement, but due to the need to mesh the words of the writer with the policy, style, and ideals of the speaker the lines become blurred as to who produced them.


As far back as this country’s infancy, Alexander Hamilton is believed to have worked on speeches with Washington. Much, if not all, of the Monroe Doctrine may have been penned by Alexander Hamilton. However, it was not until the Harding administration that someone was officially named to the role. (Petroff, 2011)

Not all presidents sought out, or actively used, input from others in creating their speeches. Most notably, many historians and students of Presidential speeches point to Abraham Lincoln as the most gifted Presidential writer (This is a good thing, since his oratory skills are much less renowned). Ted Sorensen, the well-known former speech writer for John Kennedy, and life-long student of presidential speeches, points to Lincoln’s gift for brevity as one of his strong suits. His second inaugural speech was a little over 700 words (Sorensen, 2008) and his historic Gettysburg address was a mere 272 words (Cornell).

The demands on modern day presidents, compounded by the myopic daily analysis of a competitive 24-hour a day media and the unbridled voice of social media lend to the ever increasing importance of the presidential speech writer position. Presidents, such as George W. Bush, were notorious for unfortunate off-the-cuff impromptu gaffs. National tragedies, like the Iraq War and 9/11, provide opportunities for the speech writing staff and the president to compose words of healing and motivation that can help their nation. Alternatively, while those opportunities can be uplifting opportunities for writers, Michael Gerson, Bush’s primary writer, counters that these sort of events are also very emotional and stressful for the writers when they are working to compose the right words to help the President properly comfort the families that lost loved ones (ABC News, 2006).


ABC News. Top Bush Speech Writer Resigns. (2006). Retrieved at

Cornell University. The Gettysburg Address; Transcript of Cornell University’s Copy. Retrieved at

Petroff, W. What American president(s) had the best speech writer(s)? Who are they and why are they the best? Quora. (Sept 2011). Retrieved at

Sorensen, T. Ted Sorensen on Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Words. Smithsonian Magazine. (2008). Retrieved at