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Badges in Social Media: A Social Psychological Perspective

by Judd Antin, E. Churchill
Proceedings of the 2011 SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in computing systems CHI 2011 ()

Abstract

Representing achievements as badges or trophies is a standard practice in online gaming. Awarding badges has also become a key ingredient in “gamifying” online social media experiences. Social systems such as Foursquare, StackOverflow, and Wikipedia have popularized badges as a way of engaging and motivating users. In this paper we deconstruct badges and present five social psychological functions for badges in social media contexts: goal setting, instruction, reputation, status/affirmation, and group identification. We argue that future research should further explore these five functions and their application in specific contexts.

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