Using services like Foursquare and Gowalla I cannot do anything without my social network hearing about it through updates to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I’d like to see the same integration with Kiva. It goes someway towards doing this but not enough.
Foursquare and Gowalla award badges and mayorships for completing certain tasks as a reward for both learning the system and using it.
It would be great to be rewarded the ‘First Loan’ badge or the ‘Peruvian Loan’ medal, the ‘Repeat Loan’ award, the ‘$100 Milestone Mark’ or the ‘Entrepreneur x 10’ medallion.
Adding a game element is a proven way to keep users returning to a service. The rise of social gaming also makes this a more acceptable process too. It is no longer just in the realm of World of Warcraft where you have experience points but also Farmville. If we could have as many people ‘playing’ Kiva as there are ploughing on Farmville, then the game would be on.
Updated – 13 Jul 2010
There’s a great article on exactly this topic on Inc.com, How To Incorporate Badges Into Your Website. Using terms like virtual merit badges and trophies it describes how services are encouraging contributions to the site. Foursquare has awarded one million badges to 500,000 users.