To Play or Be Played: Uncovering Gamification Techniques


A workshop organized within the 26th Conference of the Disruption Network Lab "The kill cloud". With Agnese Trocchi (Digital Communications Manager, Educator, IT). Hacker pedagogy to understand our own behaviours and automatisms in relation to digital environments and social media platforms.

Mar 27, 2022 3:30 PM — 5:30 PM
Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin
Mariannenplatz 2, Berlin, 10997

There are digital environments that do not present themself as games but in fact are games (social media platforms),and digital environments that present themselves as games but in fact are gears in the war machines. This is the case of the devices connected to The Kill Cloud. The networked warfare system can recruit gamers to turn them into trained drone operators or exploit human vulnerabilities willing to addict the operators to the “game” of war.

Many video games capture our attention so much that they create forms of addiction, masterfully built on the vulnerabilities common to all humans. In a similar way we are induced to participate and contribute relentlessly to online “communities”, built according to gamification techniques.

If we behave well we receive many “likes”, strikes and notifications, ie sugar for our brains (in the form of dopamine). If we are scarce, we stay dry-mouthed. In any case, it’s never enough to “win”, we always have to work harder, the “game” never ends.

We all know that social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, aren’t good for our social and physical health. We knew it before the Cambridge Analytical scandal, before the Facebook Papers disclosures, still we aren’t really able to stop using these devices and services. Do you ever scroll the Facebook timeline or the suggested video section of You Tube well past the point where it was fun? Why?

In our experiential workshop, using the Hacker Pedagogy methodology, we will have a chance to reflect on our behaviour and our automatisms in relations to digital mass technologies. We will do a ride through vintage videogames, and through interface analysis of social networks platforms, and uncover gamification techniques. There will be no points to gain and no prize to conquer. We are gathering to play together to win ourselves back.

Jacopo Anderlini
Jacopo Anderlini
Postdoctoral Researcher in Sociology of Migrations

My research interests include Border and Refugee studies, ethnography and STS.