Being an ICT Volunteer, it’s in my job description to figure out how technology can aid my country of service. The more general role of a Volunteer is to help make connections: connections between organizations within countries, connections with people in different countries, connections. But the most general, and most important role Volunteers play is that of cultural emissary. I am here to share American culture with Kenyans, and to share Kenyan culture with Americas. Initially this was done through letters written home about volunteer experiences, but with the explosion of Telecommunications infrastructure around the globe, the internet is providing a much more real time oppurtunity for exchange. I love this medium.
With these things in mind, enter the Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG). PMOG is an application that turns the entire internet into one big game. This is a bit more tech oriented, so sorry if I lose some of my readers here. But for those who are internet-savvy, think StumbleUpon, but with rewards and a very strong community.
First you head on over to the PMOG website before believing what I say. Then you go ahead and download the PMOG Firefox Extension. Sorry guys, only Firefox is support for now. After that, go ahead and create your first profile on the website, and you are ready to go.
So what do you do with all this? You explore the web. Every new site you go to gets you points, and even more points if you are the first PMOG user to go to that site. You can use points to buy cool items. And what can you do with items? You can lay mines to annoy other PMOG users, or crates to reward them for possibly visiting one of your favorite sites.
But the educational component of all this, the sharing component, comes in the form of missions. With missions you are able to create a virtual tour of websites around the Internet, including little blurbs about what you are bringing someone to that site. And in the end, people who complete these missions, while not only being knowledge-enriched, are also rewarded by the PMOG system in the form of points.
This harkens back to the old system of web searching, when actual people would browse the internet and catalouge all the websites they discovered, including categorizing them for the big search engines like Yahoo! Except now, you are getting a much more specific tour of all the information out there.
I have created a first mission. It’s is a simple mission that basically takes people on a tour of some of my fellow bloggers in Kenya, but it’s a prototype for what may come. I can see this as an oppurtunity to enlighten people who want to be enlightened. I believe that many people playing PMOG are simply curious creatures, and curiosity can be one of the greatest allies of generating interest. Interest to me is specific curiosity. And once there is interest, there can be exchange. So by generating curiosity about Peace Corps Kenya, I hope cultural exchange will soon follow. Then I can comfortably say I have been doing my job here 🙂