The Republic of Games: Textual Culture between Old Books and New Media
Many of today’s digital platforms are designed according to the same model: they encourage users to create content for fun (a mode of production that some have termed playbour) and to earn points. On Facebook, for example, points are based on a user’s number of friends and how many likes and shares a comment receives. New cultural and literary formations have arisen out of these feedback and reward systems, with surprising effects on amateur literary production. Drawing on social-text analysis, platform studies, and game studies, Elyse Graham shows that embedding game structures in the operations of digital platforms – a practice known in corporate circles as “gamification” – can have large cumulative effects on textual ecosystems. Making the production of content feel like play helps to drive up the volume of text being written, and as a result, gamification has gained widespread popularity online, especially among social media platforms, fan forums, and other sites of user-generated content. The Republic of Games argues that a consequence of this profound increase in the volume of text being produced is a reliance on self-contained, user-based systems of information management to deal with the mass of new content. Opening up new avenues of analysis in contemporary media studies and the humanities, The Republic of Games sifts through the gamified patterns of writing, interacting, and meaning-making that define the digital revolution.
Praise for The Republic of Games: Textual Culture between Old Books and New Media
"Elyse Graham's Republic of Games helps us to see how much these gamelike mentalities have entered into the world of writing. From spaces like Facebook to fan fiction, she shows, gamification has led to a tremendous outpouring of writing (or user engagement," as the industry titans would have it)." Publicbooks.org