I got excited when I started reading about the new iPhone app Booyah Society. It’s a great example of a cross-over that brings aspects from computer gaming and applies them to other aspects of life. About a month ago, I wrote about incorporating a rewards system into productivity applications, and I specifically mentioned the Achievements system in World of Warcraft. Booyah claims to be an “achievement system for your life”.
The premise is that you record your activities in the application, and it rewards you for them. It gives you a way to “level up in life”. I immediately imagined a wide-ranging array of goals, categorized by type, such as “Travel to Australia,” “Receive a Promotion,” or “Take a 10 mile hike.” They would range from the extreme—“Climb Mt. Everest”—to the mundane—“Read a book.” The app is, somewhat surprisingly, free, so I downloaded it to try out.
First I customized my avatar. That bit seems completely unnecessary to me, but okay. Then I checked out the achievements.
- Food Flicker - Earn by writing 1 Food & Dining Post
- Food Firestarter - Earn by writing 3 Food & Wine Posts within 2 Days
- Food Torchbearer - Earn by writing 5 Food & Dining Posts within 3 Days
At this point, I realized that it is completely based on micro-blogging. You make inane posts to Twitter, Facebook, or just on Booyah about whatever you happen to be doing. The only goals set up are to make more posts and get comments from others.
I’m vastly disappointed by the direction they decided to go with this. This is one of the endeavors that received some of that venture capital Apple talked about when they first announced the SDK. They had the opportunity to do something really interesting here. It could have worked as motivation for people to lose weight, quit smoking, do volunteer work, get involved in good causes, see the world, etc. Instead, all it does is promote people writing more about stuff that doesn’t matter so much.
Now, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be hugely successful. I expect it would be very popular among people that already use Twitter. I’m obviously not their target audience. And, perhaps, they have plans to expand it to be a much grander game, as I have described. Or, maybe they’ve left an opportunity on the table for some other enterprising person to capitalize on.