How Do You Get a Couch Potato to Exercise?
Social gaming company Zynga has tapped into human psychology to figure out what triggers encourage people to play their games over and over again. They’ve also figured out what gets people to bring in as many of their friends as possible. As a result, Zynga’s users play for 2 billion minutes per day.
But can these psychological triggers be applied in other vertica ls by using social media? The question I’m interested in is: to what extent can companies get people to do things they otherwise don’t want to do? If they can, that’s a powerful thing.
Let’s look at the example of health. Americans have an obesity problem – it’s no secret. And health care costs are out of control. How can we get people to eat better and get some exercise? What’s harder to get people to do than exercise and eat better? Startup Keas, a social network with game mechanics, is tackling this problem.
Keas is a website that employees use in the workplace. They get points, badges and achievements for completing tasks, and support their coworkers in their achieving their goals. People don’t cheat because they don’t want to hurt their reputation. Adam Bosworth, formerly of Google Health, started Keas to help the couch potatoes. Not the marathon runners or triathletes, but the average out-of-shape people, the “real people.” A full 1/3 of Keas users are overweight, 1/3 are obese and 1/6 are morbidly obese. In other words, only 1/6 are not overweight or obese. That gives you a sense of the challenge Keas is attempting to overcome.
Gaming giant Zynga says the power of gameification to get people to do what they normally resist needs to be explored more thoroughly. Click here to read more on how you get a couch potato to exercise.