August 27, 2011

+1Me for +1 Curiosity

Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin

I’m currently reading Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better And How They Can Change The World, a fascinating exploration of the psychology of games and how we can use the lessons in games to change reality for the better.  Her description and analysis of games such as Chore Wars and SuperBetter fascinated me – it’s amazing to think that a game can motivate people to do everything from clean their house to cope better with health and medical challenges.

And then I read about, the gold star for grown-ups. McGonigal detailed that she was giving a keynote address at SXSW Interactive when, a few days later, she received an email message from someone she did not know.  The email said a friend had +1d her for: +1 Intelligence, +1 Public Speaking, +1 Inspiration.  That friend, Clay Johnson, enjoyed the talk so much that he was inspired to create this web application.  Now, these two are friends in real life, and I would love to be a fly on the wall during their conversations about how to use game feedback systems to increase democratic participation.

I read about the same day I had met with one of my senior undergraduate research students.  She is facing a significant shift in the topic of her senior thesis, and I thought that might be a nice way to keep her going and motivated.  I went to the site (you don’t need an account to send or for the recipient to receive), and I was disappointed to see that I could not give a +1 for Motivation.  But, I was able to recommend the attribute for their list of 37 existing attributes.  And if my attribute is selected and added to the list, I’ll get a +1!

(*note that the website is no longer online – updated 03/27/14)

Although this post is a tribute to Clay Johnson and his innovation, Jane McGonigal’s TED talk on Gaming Can Make A Better World is worth watching!