Opinion

Could goodness be an engaging game? Folks behind online challenge think so

Posted October 10

People probably have a pretty good idea of what their credit score is and what kind of doors it opens to them based on how well they've managed their money and their financial obligations. But there's another kind of credit score that Colin Duetta thinks people should be aware of. And he figures they ought to be working hard to boost it as much as they can.

Duetta is the CEO of Xocial.com (pronounced soh-shuhl), an online platform that serves as a home for do-good challenges. And the score he thinks people should be nurturing and building is the one he calls a "credit score for the soul." The goal of Xocial is to tap into the natural urge to compete with others that's part of being human and see how one measures up when what's being counted is how much one at least tries to meet the need for social action and interaction of all types in order to make people and communities better on different measures, selected by the people who are participating.

It's friendly competition with heart, and Xocial hopes that it will catch on.

Individuals and groups can create their own challenges and assign a scoring system, or they can join challenges that someone else put up. The score — called an XO score, which is a nice play on not just the site's name but also the concept of "hugs and kisses," a la XOXO — is supposed to measure social impact and let people see how they compare to others.

The site has been around about a year, but Xocial recently launched a media campaign to introduce it to a broader audience and get attention to the cause of marrying friendly competition to social responsibility. The campaigns can be very simple because anyone can create one for free. Grandparents can post a friendly competition to be done by the grandkids. Teachers can challenge their students. Neighborhood groups or office workers can issue — and meet — challenges in ways that resonate with them. Or one can take a need national and issue a challenge.

While there's nothing preventing people from issuing and meeting challenges with or without the site, the idea behind Xocial strikes me as a very good one to ponder right now.

The presidential election has everyone pretty much fixated on public policy and what our elected representatives can or cannot accomplish for the betterment of our society. We're looking at candidate promises to "fix" all the things that seem broken in our country or that might work better with some policy tweaks.

It's easy to forget the role that individuals, families, neighbors, corporations and community groups — the very entities targeted by a friendly do-good competition site like Xocial — can play in solving problems large and small if they will simply step up and get busy.

It's actually not up to a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton to "fix" America. We will select one of them to lead us, but the truth is that what America accomplishes and becomes, how she treats others and whether as a nation we thrive, will depend far more on people who couple caring with action than on anything else. I honestly believe that our teachers and religious leaders and parents have far greater impact overall on our lives than do the individual leaders who are at the helm a very short time.

The president and his or her policies should guide and support the American people, and there's no question that some big efforts require a scale only achieved by the federal government. But the real magic still happens at street level, where the American people guide and support and take care of each other. With or without a little healthy competition.

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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