I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of “endless games” and how they apply to content. From SCVNGR’s game dynamics playdeck:
Endless games: Games that do not have an explicit end. Most applicable to casual games that can refresh their content or games where a static (but positive) state is a reward of its own.
This same mechanic is at work within almost all social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and even Quora. It’s a simple concept: every time you return to any of these social networks, there’s something new for you. Something to read, something to discuss, a funny animated GIF, a link to explore — and on and on. The fact you’re getting something new and unknown whenever you return to a social network is one reason they have become such a powerful part of digital life.
And that’s why I was quite excited about Potluck — a social network dedicated to sharing links. As a link junky this sounded like a wonderful proposition. From their homepage:
Discover new things your friends think are cool (that you wouldn’t find otherwise!).
Sounded pretty good. I signed up and even sent it to work colleagues and tweeted it out. I connected to around a dozen people on the first day. Found some nice new links. A good start. But since yesterday afternoon?
Zip. Nothing is happening. Just tumbleweeds rolling by.
What motivation do I have to return to Potluck?
Zero. There’s nothing new there.
Critically, because it’s only very new and I only have a few connections, of course there’s likely to be little there. Where are the link suggestions? Trending links? Popular links? There is literlaly no reason for me to bother ever signing in again. Am I missing some part of the site? Or is it really just meant to be like this?
Potluck has failed at creating a sense of an endless game, and for me that means it’s failed entirely as a social network concept.
It’s incredible that a product with such an impressive team behind it (Evan Williams and Biz Stone to name just two) could be launched like this. This isn’t even beta.
Potluck describes itself as The best house party you’ve ever been to. On the internet.
Alas, this seems more accurate…