There are probably good reasons to class EA in either category and some would probably go further and claim that it is a social marketing tool …
In the Viral Trash corner is the principle problem with all attempts at measuring social media interaction, Klout et al, namely that quantity can be measured, but quality is tricky.
One aspect of the game is to complete ‘missions’, i.e. you are given virtual bucks for retweeting or liking stuff that you normally wouldn’t touch with anyone’s thumb, let alone your own. This, though it may earn a few bucks, does nothing for your virtual credibility …. I am a reformed character in this respect after a few sluttish retweets.
Botgirl actually pointed out the major weaknesses in her lucid article where she names the Devil …
..” Social Network games are a junk food pleasure; endless rows of bottomless bowls of lard-drenched frosted pork rinds. Too lazy to plow the soil of our subconscious, sow the seeds of creativity and feast upon its ripened fruit, we instead stuff our meaning-starved minds with the crackling crunch of gamified pseudo-achievement.”
It is also a complete timewaste… but a bit of fun.
Viewed as Just A Game it has a few things going for it. It requires a bit of thought, a bit of strategy and the forging of very superficial links. If you normally spend some time on social media then it’s probably not gonna cost you anything like as much as, say, SL. It is a game you can play for ‘free’.
As a Social Marketing Tool .. well, there are people who are charged with getting the maximum number of ‘likes’ or followers for their company/client and these people are using the incentives to drive traffic to a particular site or person. Here, however, is the whole problem with Social Media as marketing tool, Likes, Hits, Followers don’t seamlessly convert into sales/cash. Similar to traffic anywhere, your blog, sim or FB page something more has to happen before you convert that into any non-virtual event.
Probably it is beyond my ability to say anything very astute about Social Media Marketing… Marmite has a FaceBook page… but Xmillion Likes isn’t going to get you to eat it if you hate the taste …. and surely, only people on a wage, in an office, bored, would visit… ???
Social Media Marketing, with very few exceptions I believe, is probably the new Emperor’s Clothes.
..but then, what do I know…