Reflections on using Rise to support conference-based gamification

This is a guest blog from:

Fiona MacNeill, Learning Technologies Adviser, University of Brighton and UCISA Digital Capabilities committee member. AboutMe: Twitter: @fmacneill

In early June I had the pleasure of implementing a conference-wide gamification activity in support of the UCISA Digital Capabilities event. The event took place at MediaCity, Salford; a vibrant and engaging venue for an event stocked-full of innovative ideas. The event focused on showcasing successful practices for supporting academic staff and learners in their use of technology within further and higher education. Another goal of the event was to highlight findings from the recent Digital Capabilities survey. So when a member of the event organising committee, Iain Cameron (University of Aberdeen, and UCISA Digital Capabilities committee), mentioned the idea of a Twitter selfie (or Twelfie) competition as part of the proceedings; Rise immediately came to my mind as the right tool for the job! I had encountered Rise before at a demo at the International Confex event in 2013 and then again during the Mahara 2014 Hui held at the University of Brighton.

The rules of the game were simple and already outlined for me by the organisers. One point was awarded for original selfies; @mentions; and retweets featuring the #udigcap hashtag. Two points were awarded to reward the befriending behaviours needed to: take selfies with another delegate; take selfies with a speaker; and take selfies with organisers. Three points were awarded for imaginative selfies; selfies with passing celebrities who work or visit the television studios of MediaCity; and a selfie with a famous landmark. Although the game was simple, we entered into it with a sense of playfulness, completed by my donning the literal udig-Cap on my head, to signify my position as the twelfie official! Here’s the photo evidence



Observed positive effects of using Rise Leaderboard:

  • Rise really stoked attendee engagement via Twitter. There were around 90 tweets that included twelfies. Overall, there were almost 1200 tweets related to the event, many of which were a direct result of attendees taking part in the Leaderboard.


  • The competition called for attendees to take photos of themselves with other attendees, speakers and celebrities. This encouraged both in-person and online engagement.


  • The twelfie competition promoted a sense of fun and resulted in crowdsourced documentation of the event proceedings. The documentation is now archived as a Storify
    • The competition boosted discursive engagement and publicised the twitter feed prior to the event. This was largely achieved by some pre-conference challenges where attendees were asked to take engaging photographs of their journey to the conference.


Top tips for using Rise in a conference situation

  1. Our photo-based metrics meant that we had to do a lot of manual scoring. I suggest using a wider variety of metrics, including a mixture of automatic metrics derived from twitter polling and manual metrics.
  2. I recommend linking a Google doc to the active leaderboard to enable simpler player addition and
  3. Limit the number of times a certain metric can be scored. We found that some of the twelfies became repetitive, as there was not a limit on the number of times that a twelfie could be scored.
    • Include some wildcard activities to promote positive conference behaviour:
      • g. tweet and tag someone whom you met at lunchtime (with their permission);
      • engage in the conference treasure hunt and tweet what you found etc.
  1. Take greater advantage of the need for the human superviser, or games-master, and consider using them to lead tweet-ups of certain topics raised during the event. These could also have point-awarding options.
  2. Consider day-by-day scoring and options for remote attendees and second day attendees.
  3. Points for @mentions of anything other than the conference hashtag, can affect the quality of tweets’ written content due to the character limit. Best to keep it to one @mention metric.
    Add players in advance of the conference, if possible.
  4. Having clearly defined board release times was a good strategy and led to a sense of anticipation, e.g. breaks worked well as times to release and show the updated leaderboard. Leave at least 10 minutes for the polls to complete and to release the board. I owe this idea to Katie Piatt (University of Brighton), who used this strategy to great effect at the 2014 Mahara Hui.

Future ideas

As I contemplate gamification at the next iteration of the Digital Capabilities event I have been considering how the competitive element could be developed further. Here are a few ideas, although I won’t go into specifics, as I don’t want to give the game away in advance!

  • Make awards unexpected – as Daniel Pink, explains in his 2010 book, Drive expected extrinsic rewards can negatively affect performance (pp. 63-70). Therefore adding some unexpected rewards for completed tasks could add value. However these rewards will not be itemised on the rules list, so a disclaimer about judge discretion may be helpful!
  • Reward introverts as well as extroverts – one of the best conferences that I have ever attended was Eyeo Festival based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA ( Eyeo is an awe-inspiring event focusing on data visualisation, interactivity and maker ethics. However in the midst of all the flashy stuff, in the two years that I attended they had quiet spaces where one could engage in puzzles and inventions related to the event, sans supervision or sales influence. This was an invaluable opportunity to play and learn. Having an area in a conference like this provides time for time-out and inspiration as well as hidden scoring opportunities!
  • An idea inspired by Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken (2012): we allow attendees to +1 each other. This is like an in-person analogy of a “favorite” star or a “like” thumbs-up, but because it is real, perhaps it means even more within the context of the event. I like the idea of using physical +1s (think cardboard cutouts the size of a plate) which could become the subject of a selfie; a nice option for camera shy attendees.
  • Finally this is an idea that I owe to Pete Jenkins (, who suggested making the next iteration of our competition, a team-based activity. Rise Leaderboard can support this mode of use. The concept is that player interest will be more sustained if they are contributing to a group effort, as opposed to seeing individuals rapidly ascend up the leaderboard and losing the will to compete due to very high leading scores. In the team model points can still be awarded individually for small activities and these can contribute to the collective team score.

Well, I for one am excited about the next Digital Capabilities event!


McGonigal, J. (2012). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. London: Vintage.

Pink, D. H. (2010). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.

Telfest 2015 conference uses Rise to enhance conference participation and crowd-source content on social media for non-attendees

This is a guest post by Farzana Latif, posted first on 29th Sept 2015 here

During September 2015’s TELFest (a week long festival consisting of workshops, discussions and drop-in sessions related to Technology Enhanced Learning) we introduced a leaderboard to enhance participation throughout the event, and to encourage the use social media to share experiences amongst colleagues that were unable to attend. Having experienced the leaderboard at the UCISA Spotlight on Capabilities Conference in June, I was interested in using it to introduce ideas related to Gamification, and bring an extra element of fun, to TELFest. The leaderboard is generated by a website called, which automatically calculates the scores for tweets that contain a specific hashtag, and, following some pointers from Fiona MacNeil who had set it up for the UCISA event, I set up a leaderboard for TELFest. Given the aims behind using the leaderboard, I decided that points should be primarily awarded for tweeting with the #TELFest hashtag and there were additional points for attending drop in sessions and tweeting TELfie’s (TELfest selfies). Below is a breakdown of the points that could be earned:

Tweets with the #TELFest hashtag 1 point
Being Mentioned by someone else 2 points
Having your  #TELFest Posts Retweeted 3 points
Tweeting a TELFie with the hashtag  #TELFest (TELFest, Selfie) 3 points
Attending a drop in session 5 points

Each day we saw the top tweeters changing positions and there was healthy competition amongst TELFest participants.

To keep tweeters motivated, automated tweets were sent out every evening, informing them of their position on the leaderboard.

Twitter activity increased significantly compared to September 2014, there was a tenfold increase in the overall number tweets, a tripling of the number of tweeters and, on the Friday, TELFest trended in the Sheffield area, meaning that it was promoted to local users on the main twitter interface.

An additional benefit of promoting the use of Twitter through the leaderboard was that it helped to capture the variety of views and opinions shared by participants during the event. We were then able to use the tweets to create daily blog posts summarising these discussions using Storify, allowing us to produce a record of the day’s events for participants to look back on and to give some insight into the discussions for those unable to attend.

While the leaderboard was highlighted during the Gamification session as an example of a method to encourage participation and motivate learners, it is hard to say whether, in this case, the leaderboard led to an objective increase in Twitter usage. Early feedback indicates that its’ introduction did motivate some people to tweet more than they might ordinarily, yet others stated that they were unaware of the board. Another reason why the increase in the use of Twitter at TELFest this year cannot be solely attributed to the leaderboard is that we integrated Twitter directly into some of the workshops. It is however clear that the leaderboard did not appear to influence the number of colleagues attending drop-in sessions.
We closed the board on Friday at 12pm and as a token gesture awarded chocolate medal to colleagues that were top of the board – congratulations to Gary, Nik and Maria.

Below is a screenshot of the final top 20 for the leaderboard:

This blog has been verified by Rise: Rd886fcb9534f0f3e25d5be49b850a9bc

11 vital tools for a modern B2B community manager

B2B community marketing is an effective technique for promoting your business and products among a defined community.

The idea is that prospects, customers, partners and suppliers have as much to learn from each other as they do from you. They will value being part of a B2B community that you host.

You don’t need lots of resources to  build a B2B community around your business. A community nowadays doesn’t have to be just physical (like running a large annual conference) – there are  several digital tools that are great for building modern B2B communities:

I’ve identified 11 key tools that every B2B community needs below.

When planning your next B2B community, it’s worth considering how you will offer all these features to your community:

  1. Vision and

Every organised community has a common purpose, almost by definition. Often it is never stated formally but is ‘assumed’ in response to a particular name. If I created the ‘Google Glass Community’ you’d assume that this was a community to further our shared understanding and promotion of the Google Glass technology product.

Defining vision and goals is worth doing though, I think the best tool to do this on the web is as a slideshare presentation. This allows you to ‘present’ the vision and goals to your community, much as a CEO might present a company’s vision to its customers, shareholders and employees.

Usefully, Slideshare offers a comment facility, a download facility (so other leaders in your community can include vision slides in their own presentations) as well as the ability to upload a new version if the vision changes.

  1. Conversations – yammer

Communities need a place for individuals to talk to one another. Several tools offer peer-to-peer conversation formats varying from the centralised (discussion forums such as Vbulletin, social networks such as Yahoo, LinkedIn Groups, Google and Facebook Groups, bespoke social networks such as Yammer and Ning.

The main purpose of a conversation space is to create peer to peer relationships.  By providing a place to personally reflect on the wider community conversations and to consolidate the community’s shared understanding of a particular topic.

  1. Knowledge Base  – Wiki

While conversations are unstructured,  it is the archivist’s role within a community to convert unstructured knowledge into structured articles for future community members to learn from.

There are a number of ways to do this ranging from a better archive of unstructured conversations (‘pinned’ discussion topics, a Quora Q&A forum) to a dedicated structured body of knowledge such as a Wiki, FAQ or Documentation.

I’d be interested in your suggestions on the best tool for Wiki’s as I’ve only ever used the centrally controlled knowledge base tools such as uservoice which don’t offer much ability for community members to edit articles.

  1. Photo scrapbookPinterest

People love visuals. Any community loves to keep scrap books and a photo albums. There’s lots of fun in searching an old photo archive to see old photos of years gone by. It’s also a way for newcomers to get a feel for the community quickly.

Tools to maintain the photo scrapbook are Flickr, Facebook photos and Pinterest – all focused on the visual aspect of a community.

  1. Events – Meetup

Communities thrive on events that bring everyone together physically, even if it’s just one or two people in a cafe. Meetup offers a great tool as it embeds the idea of meeting regularly,  a crucial component of a healthy community.

Not all communities need a physical gathering however so consider using webinar tools such as Brighttalk, Join Me and Google Hangouts offer ways to gather virtually at a specific time.

  1. Breaking NewsTwitter

Communities need a source of breaking news – where can they go to get the latest news for that community? Blogs and micro blogs like Twitter are ideal for this purpose. If you’d like to let any member of the community break news then focus your marketing on a hashtag instead of a specific Twitter account.

Flipboard offers a way to create a weekly digest
Flipboard offers a way to create a weekly digest

7. Weekly news digestFlipboard

Not everyone in the community is interested enough or able to tune in to breaking news as it happens. There is a need for a slower digest of what’s been going on, that’s where tools like Flipboard and Storify come in which allow members to curate the most important breaking news articles and blogs into a magazine style content into a digest format.

  1. Scorekeeping – Rise

Communities need a way of keeping score, to track their progress towards both personal  and shared goals.

What you keep score of will be up to you – perhaps you want your community to reach a particular target in terms of use of social media, overall sales of your product or to hit a particular fundraising goal. One thing is for sure, sharing the score is a great way of getting everyone in your community focused on what matters. Rise offers a fantastic platform to share the score whether that’s personally or collectively.

  1. CommerceStripe

Healthy communities do business among themselves. Even communities where everyone is in the same profession you’ll see commercial transactions (for instance where one plumber takes on too big a job for him to handle alone) between community members.

You can providesa way to facilitate commercial transactions between your members.  This might be  done with PayPal and a buy and sell group/tag/discussion topic on your conversation network, or with a more sophisticated trading platform, such as Yniche’s teacher/student B2B learning exchange that leverages each individual member’s Stripe account.

  1. Agendas, minutes and actionsAsana

Formal meetings are a natural part of any B2B community. As communities mature,  small groups are coopted to ‘steer’ the community and maintain direction towards the vision. This committee will often spin out teams and sub-committees with particular remit.

Managing working groups and committees used to be like herding cats but putting in place good tools for managing minutes and actions among a distributed community are now available. The leaders are Trello and Asana.

  1. Member directoryRise
Rise offer
Rise offers an interesting take on the traditional member directory.

Last but not least, every community needs a members directory, a list of who is included in that community. Existing and prospective members often want to search and browse the others in a community.

Most community tools offer a members list of some sort, it’s your job to decide which is the primary list and share it in a way that others can see it. Since this is my blog I’ll pick Rise as the primary place to share the member directory, as I believe alphabetical lists are no longer of use in our Google age. 🙂 But this could be a CRM tool such as Nimble, Pipeliner or Pipedrive,  a  social media list (Twitter List, Facebook or LinkedIn Group) or a community forum (Meetup, Yammer or Ning).

So there you go, a whistle stop tour of my preferred tools available for creating, activating and engaging your online community.

What have I missed? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Haas Racing use our new color pickers to theme their Nascar simulator leaderboard

We’ve made the popular Gridder theme (example) available to all customers – this grid theme focuses on the community aspect of your leaderboard and less on the raw rankings of a traditional top down leaderboard.

At the same time we’ve provided a colour  picker so you can change the colours to suit your brand. We’ve added the colour picker to the Diner and Altitude TV theme too so you can be sure your board looks just as you’d want it.

Colour theming was seen in action at a Nascar  meeting last month where the team from IMG Live and Haas gave VIP guests a chance to try out what it was like to race one of these sports cars and track their times on a leaderboard. As you can see they made their leaderboard look stunning.

haas racing simulator img live

Bring more people to your event with an event ambassadors program launched a new template today designed for event managers to drive pre-event buzz around their event hashtag.


CEO Toby Beresford explains “many event managers let social media fend for itself, often creating an event hashtag but minimally promoting it. They are missing a trick. The huge advantage of a hashtag being used in the run up to event is that it builds digital buzz – that sense of excitement is often the signal people look at when whether to attend in person or not. Driving up digital buzz pre-event can increase attendance, ticket sales and community engagement at the event itself. “


To work the tool all you need is an event hashtag and a name for your ‘ambassadors’, then you publish the results weekly as a news bulletin, gradually warming up your audience week by week.  The Leaderboarded tool tracks all Twitter activity around the hashtag for you and gives the ambassadors points when they are tweeted, mentioned or retweeted by others.


Events guru William Thomson of Gallus events recommends giving your ambassadors a name that is in keeping with your event theme – for example with his “Who Stole My Audience” event the ambassadors would be named “The Usual Suspects”.


While some event managers like to incentivise their ambassador programs, it’s not a pre-requisite. “Generally speaking event ambassadors don’t need additional incentives” says Beresford “a good ambassador program is all about being seen to belong to a cadre of core supporters rather than doing it for some extrinsic prize.”


Social media expert Nat Schooler (@natschooler) used Leaderboarded to promote the Dentistry Show earlier this year with stunning results – “Our event ambassador board created so many interactions that our weekly twitter feed has gone from 85,000 impresssions per week to an average of around 500,000” he said.


The tool is priced per ambassador with pricing started at £9.99 per month for a small event up to around £100 per month for a larger event. To try it out free for 7 days, visit and sign up with your event Twitter account and enter your hashtag.


Leaderboarded is a previous winner of the Event Technology Awards Best Use of Social Media category.

Mahara UK gamified event case study

Katie Piatt a leaderboarder from the University of Brighton has written an excellent case study with some valuable lessons and tips on how she gamified her recent event using Leaderboarded. It’s well worth a read!

In particular her intelligent use of  anticipation around the leaderboard and use of mid-campaign scoring changes to the metrics  to counter cheating – that’s really using Leaderboarded’s flexible scoring system to the max!

If you’re more of a micro-blogging type of person you can also track the story via Katie’s storify of the event.

Happy reading!

PPA leaderboard their conference

The Professional Publishers Association (PPA) is the voice of professional publishers and represents around 220 companies, ranging from consumer magazine publishers to business-to-business data and information providers, customer magazine publishers and smaller independent companies

Their annual conference for sponsors and members is always a major event.  For the 2014 conference, titled RE_INVENTED, they wanted to make sure that their guests and attendees were going to get the most from the conference by engaging them prior to the event.  They used Leaderboarded’s Event Hashtag product to leverage the digital conversation taking place on Twitter around the event.

Everyone who tweeted using the hashtag #ppa_reinvented got a place on the leaderboard, and every tweet, retweet and mention scored points. A weekly publication of the leaderboard provided a fun and engaging way for everyone to connect together around the upcoming event.  At the end of the event, the top 3 people got some fun prizes in recognition of their enthusiasm for the event.

From the 472 Tweeterers on the leaderboard, a total of 2829 tweets, 1179 retweets and 2446 mentions were recorded.

Helen Rosemier, Commercial Director, PPA said:

“We were delighted with the positive impact that Leaderboarded had on our RE_INVENTED conference in May.  It created a powerful buzz and encouraged active engagement on Twitter, which extended well beyond the audience in the room.”

We won an event technology award

At the event technology awards on Friday night Leaderboarded was the tool using by the winning team from UBM and International Confex in the  Best Use of Social Media category.

Way to go Confex! We love seeing our customers succeed!

Also worth mentioning as part of the campaign we also produced a specialised ‘big TV theme’ for the event’s TV partners  So, as well as being shown on screens dotted around the event, the leaderboard was also up large on the Big TV. Pretty cool.

Contact us if you’d like to find out about creating a customised template so you can easily spin up a Leaderboard to use at any of your events.