from the introduction:
Social media are ruled by numbers. Counts of friends and followers, scores of “likes”, views, and shares play a central role in defining what is on view and what is not, in a constantly evolving info stream. As every move is measured and every post awaits feedback, a particular ground for action is being set up. Images, links, videos, and thoughts constantly compete with each other for attention. The number of friends a user has, the time he chooses to up-load a post, and the number of responses she or he gets are all decisive for her or his online presence. The social media world is a competitive world with scores dependent on networks’ algorithms on one hand and on users’ promptness and virtuosity on the other; it is part of a new gameful reality, which – based on machinic modes of counting – continuously tracks and processes networked human moves and interactions.
But is this then a new form of a gamespace? As users constantly con-sider what their next “move” should be while checking the scores of others, they very much seem to be acting like players. But what looks like a game is actually not such. It is rather the ultimate convergence of the real world with the online realm where real data is being used in a new peculiar game system (Dragona 2014, 98). What happens in the web is one of the many facets of the phenomenon of gamification which opens the way not only to opportunities for gameful interaction, but also to new modes of exploitation, capitalisation, and control. As McKenzie Wark puts it, there seems to be “a sort of enclosure of the world” within what he famously called “gamespace”, “where the logics of the game become the general patterns of organization”. And this happens thanks to the contemporary game like media, “the allegories of our times” (Wark 2013a).