I started with Spark september 2009 and have since then reached the highest point level - 100 000. The point system helped me get started and involved in the social bit and it kept me doing things on a regular basis.
And I am still here and check in although there is no pint to it anymore. And silly as it is, I can notice that my engagment has slacked a little, not only because I also participate on a swedish supportsite and have to be active there as well.
I have covered an event called "Digital Days" over two days and listened to a lecture about "gamification" and learned that I do not have to feel so silly for being a point collector, it is rather common - at ski resorts in Sweden they have something called "My Skistar" that is connected to the Skipass you use to go up the mountains - and every time you draw your card, you get points or "pins" for different routes. And there is a leaderboard online and you can challenge your friends and you can also check where other "Ski Stars" ski for the moment - and you can of course chose to stay out of it altogether and only use the skipass as a permission to lifts.
I have also learned that there are different types of players -"Killers" (love to compete) "Explorers" (wants to find out all the functions) "Socialisers" (wants to share there doings with friends and Achievers (likes to collect poits. I am obviously most an achiever and I hope Spark People will recognize us and install som new levels - it would do with one at 200 000 I don´t need many goals close I just need some incitament to keep on doing "point chores"
OS far noone has gamified food shopping - well only the reward system that I get a "bonus" check after shopping for a certain amount, I can´t say that it thrills me or motivates me to go to a certain store. But the speaker mentioned the possibiliteies to get points and awards for shopping ecological or locally prodeced or vegetables... for you grownups it might not mean anything but as the child I am I would be motivated to do better by a system like that.
Then I listened to a wonderful speaker about the future trends - he started with the dystopia we have coming up when all this consumtion society will crash, it is simply not possilbe to go on. Something got to happen. And then he really showed us how internet has made connecitons and actions of democracy and power possible - we can talk and decide and activate ourself without any authority or system involved, it is free and it makes it possible to reach anybody very fast.
He showed an experiment who had been done in an etioian village of analphabetss - a group of children had been given a laptop (with internet) They were analfabets as were their parents and everbody in that village. And the researchers had been a little nervous that the children would not find the "on" buttons or would ignored the laptops and intstead build houses with the boxes
“I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch … powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android,” Negroponte said. “Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera, and they figured out the camera, and had hacked Android.” If you want to read about it all:
It was really inspiring and gave hope.
And just the fact that I listened to that speak yesterday and was inspired and I write to my friends on spark about it and want to be correct on the fact so I Google "etiopian children laptop" and - voila! comes a dsuggestion of links and I find an article I can suggest to you - it is amazing!
What we can do through cyberspace is utopia...