How social media gamification can bring perspective in this pandemic

by Bert Gybels · 05/05/2021

Remember March 2020 when a 4 week quarantaine seemed long but we still had that “yes we can” attitude? We’ve lost a lot of that over the months as this pandemic keeps dragging on. We’ve lost the perspective because our positive actions - keeping safe - aren’t rewarded on a consistent basis.

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Gamifying our goals

You’ve probably heard of the word “gamification”, digitally rewarding people for positive behavior in the form of badges for exemple. It might seem silly, but it does work. There’s a massive body of research confirming the efficacy of gamification techniques, and social media is the best playground for them.

What could a pandemic prevention gamification look like? First of all the behavior-consequence needs to be visualised in the most simple of ways. Why not use the metaphor of a thermometer?

The red part is the amount of cases. The arrow at the bottom indicates the trend. The elements on the right are the freedoms that can be acquired, and the “countdown” quadrants show which freedoms are about to be lost or acquired (depending on the trend) to express a form of urgency.

Let’s compare to how results are communicated now:

This graph shows much more detail then our “thermometer”, but the evolution and the association with freedom is lacking.

What’s the game?

With our thermometer as a tool, we can then associate certain challenges to acquiring rights: if we’re about to lose our freedom to visit stores we can call upon society to do certain things and communicate its effects immediately after.

In conclusion

To bring perspective we need to simplify the pandemic data and associate it firmly with action-consequence-freedom. Social media challenges can have a massive impact if these requirements are met.