Well I love chocolate – and I’m fascinated by Personal and Social Networks … so what could be better than a new up and coming venture called Social Chocolate?

The venture seems to have gathered a team of really high-profile folk. The leader is Creative Director, Jane McGonigal – you might have seen her on TED Talks. Jane’s profile is worth a read:

“Jane is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games, or ARGs – games designed to improve real lives and solve real problems. Her #1 goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She is the Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future and the author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.”

Also, do take the time to listen to her TED talk – “Gaming can make a Better World”. It’s full of wow statistics that really make you think about how we might be able to solve important problems (and have fun).

Back to chocolate though… I know that was the part of this post’s headline that really captured your interest….

Social Chocolate’s website says that: “We are in the middle of developing radically new social adventure games based on breakthrough scientific findings from psychology, neuroscience, and sociology.” I like their profile on Twitter more:

“We’re making worldchanging games powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection.”

The basis seems to be that through gaming you get rewards – and chocolate is a reward/treat too. I can’t disagree with that – I have Boggle and Fruit& Nut obsessions! The theory is that we can use these fun things and rewards (basically great gaming) to encourage people to collaborate on-line to solve the real problems of the world. When you consider the amount of time invested playing games – and imagine this energy channeled in to changing real worlds – you can get the connection.

Jane has some interesting “parallel stats”

* These days a person spends an average of 10,000 hours by the age 21 playing games
* To get through all levels of school in the US a student spends 10,080 hours in lessons
* Malcolm Gladwell puts forward in his book “The Outliers” that a virtuoso in any subject needs to spend 10,000 hours

Social Chocolate seems a very bright idea. Take a look at the game on their home page – and see if you can unlock their “Secret Wall”. I seem to have got stuck at the very last level – after spending way too much time playing. However, it has reinforced my knowledge of hubs, nodes, edges, connectors, density of networks, etc in a very practical way.

Good luck to Social Chocolate – go and have a play with their initial “teaser” game. It will help you and me to start conversing in the “language” of Personal Networks – while having fun playing a game. That’s a start…