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Online Social Network Game

Young people like games and spend lot of time on them for fun. This idea utilizes this interest to promote interaction with older adults and community service. An online game specially developed to encourage interaction between young people and older adults. Young people compete to help and to be liked by older adults. A game where members gain points, badges and certificates for participating in discussion forums, online and offline community events and competitions. Various NGO's, organisations, charities, etc can also promote their events and activities with or related to Older Adults needs as part of game. Young people will get an exposure to learn, share & participate.

Photo of BK Veda Vyas
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Online organic social network community game created to promote young people in participating community activities with or targeting older adults using discussion forums, online and offline events/activities created by players and associated NGO's, charities, Industry, etc with featured in game competitions in various aspects of participation.
Sonya is 18 year old college student who likes playing mobile games. She joins this online social network game by downloading an app. She always wanted to do something for her community but never found enough motivation. In this new game she progresses by sharing stories with seniors in discussion forums, helping them and getting their approval, likes and comments. She can join online activities volunteering to help seniors in learning to use new technologies, applications and gadgets.

She refers her friends who join by giving her more points in the game. Her friends join to create a new community in the game. She can join and create new community where she can share her innovative ideas for events and activities with like minded young and seniors. She can create activities/events and promote them by running campaigns on game to gain support and funding to make it happen.

As older adults join and appreciate her activities/events more badges and points she earns. Older adults who like her can join her fan club giving her recognition for her contribution. She can participate and win various competitions promoting different kinds of ideas of engaging seniors on the game.

She can spend time with seniors by playing interactive games with them. Teaming up with them and going against other teams for fun. She can create an event/activity to include or create games she feels suitable for playing with seniors. 

She also gets an opportunity to donate for or volunteer in events created by other players and various local and international organisations like CARE, World Vision, Amnesty, UNESCO, etc. She can also join CSR initiatives organised by local industries. She gains certificates for extracurricular activities and creates professional social network that can help her in her career.

She finds her city local senior citizens association has created an event and needs some help in their environmental awareness initiative. She joins as volunteer for weekend activity helping them with technology and social media coverage and gets appreciation badges and fans from older adults she interacts with. 

This way more she contributes to the game and older adults playing the game. As she progresses in the game; she learns, shares, works with teams, volunteers, helps. She helps the game grow with her ideas.
Social organizations and charities are able to promote their activities and source volunteers and participants in their planned services on the game. They can promote new ideas by supporting or funding player created events.

Industries who have funds under corporate social responsibility schemes can also participate to support/fund/sponsor community service events. They can also create events and request for volunteers.
Game can have features and events from the ideas already shared by others like match, book-clubs, make a wish, reverse summer school, find my friend challenge, The Amazings, etc. The game being organic will grow with the ideas of the players and events that are popular.

Where will we find older adults for the game?
Game can have tie up with senior citizen organisations, social clubs, retired employee associations; ngo’s already working for older adults, etc. Once they sign up they will find young adults competing to help them. This creates a sense of value and appreciation for them. Older Adults can only sign up for the game through recognized organisations or using age/identity verification by credit cards, etc.

Where will we find young adults?
Colleges and youth organisations that are in community service should be very happy to join this effort to help their older generation. Distributing flyers in college festivals, and other such events; online marketing campaigns in social media networks; apart from personal recommendations from players already playing the game. We can also give points for referrals by young adults.

Financial Plan:
Initially this will need venture capital to create the game. This can come from a charitable organisation, NGOs, etc. The game is free to join and play. We can have certain pay features like promoting events, community, etc can cost real money. When events posted need funding, various players, organizations, industries can donate money for the event of which 5-10% can be deducted as administrative expenses. This can be spent for developing the game and employing people to ensure money is spent actually on intended purpose. Thus in long run we hope to generate enough finances to sustain the game by itself. Any profits can be used to fund in game competitions and featured events.

Gaming Industry has grown a lot and has matured and once the Idea is put into work there will be lots of features like in game chating, messaging, gallery & media sharing, etc to make it easy to communicate and share about players life. We can borrow lots of new ideas from different games to make it easy to interact with, aesthetic and simple to use. 

This can also be made an open source project where youth who are experts in software and game development will be able to voluntarily create activity pages & codes to customise the game. This can be a part of the game itself. 

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

We can create a basic beta version game website. Request local senior citizen organizations and youth organizations to participate to get feedback and suggestions to improve. this is possible with minimum funding. Once the game matures a bit, with enough players from our city we can invite local social clubs and organisations associated with seniors citizens to create and promote suitable community events.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

OpenIDEO community can help in all aspects of the idea. This idea will need lot of team work & efforts in the beginning phases. All Suggestions, Feedback, Volunteers, etc are welcome. It is always the volunteers who manifest every idea with their thoughtfulness and hard work.


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Photo of Aaryaman Singhal

Hi BK,
Great idea! Couple of thoughts: 1) I think mobile app games that tend to catch on and stick tend to be very simple (think Angry Birds, Tiny Wings, 2048). None of these games were complicated. They only required players to tap here and there at opportune times. 2) While simplicity is good, the game should make sure to not encourage 'slacktivism' which I understand to be something like "Thinking you are supporting a cause by 'liking' or tweeting or posting content when in reality your actions don't cause any real change on the ground." I think you've gone a fair way to address this thought but I wanted to put it out there.

Photo of BK Veda Vyas

Hi Aaryaman

Thanks for the feedback and compliments

1. I realize that full scope of the game cannot be given on a simple mobile app. but only some features like commenting on discussions and keeping in touch with seniors and what ever is convenient can be put up on the app. Full scope of the game will remain accessible on browser as of now. It will be a trade-off that will evolve when we keep developing the game. We can also have more than one app for various aspects of the game.

2. I appreciate your concern about slacktivism. But then in the games i have been exposed to, this liking and tweeting are a form of showing attention to others and part of developing relationships. It is what social networks are for, this is a tool to get younger people to interact and help seniors. So when young people sometimes get busy, probably only a like would good enough to keep in touch with seniors and make them feel appreciated and vice versa. Though the liking and tweeting need not contribute to players earning any game points to discourage people from getting slack and actually contribute something.

Photo of Aaryaman Singhal

Hi BK, I agree that both the simple game design and concern for slacktivism are hard to take address fully.

1) Maybe the app/game can have an IM chat feature (although not sure about potential for cyber-bullying and/or other creepy things).

2) I agree that a like can make people feel appreciated and know that others are thinking of them.

Good luck! I think this is a great idea.

Photo of BK Veda Vyas

Thank you

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