Is social being gamed?

Jonathan Blow interview: Do you believe social games are evil? “Yes. Absolutely.” | PC Gamer.

One question this interview throws up is: just what is social gaming?

Social tends to mean something about society, companionship or communities. Gaming is a form of play or sport.

So “social gaming” should mean a form of play or sport rooted in society, companionship or community.  Easy.

So what does that mean? Does that include playing football with some friends from the neighbourhood? As the term is associated with online stuff, then I guess we’ll need to make the ‘online’ part of ‘social gaming’ implicit.

But Jonathan Blow’s point is that not all ‘social gaming’ is social. Or, perhaps, that some ‘social gaming’ uses ‘gaming’ in a different way:

Gaming: Manipulate (a situation), typically in a way that is unfair or unscrupulous. [From Oxford Dictionaries].

Perhaps that is what too many people and organisations are doing these days. Manipulating your community in a way that is unfair or unscrupulous. Are you gaming or are you being gamed?

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