April 9, 2012
Each month Azraa Janmohamed discusses timely topics relevant to teens
Spread The Joy
Oh Facebook. The warm, deep blue is always there to greet us good morning when we wake, and bid us goodnight when we head off to sleep. Without a doubt, Facebook is our reliable friend — or rather, a reliable tool to connect us with our friends. Facebook is always open on a tab and has become an intrinsic part of how we all, as youth, communicate with our friends, peers, and family. If you were to Google Facebook, you would find countless articles talking about the important form of social media that Facebook provides, or the world of business opportunities that it offers. However, very few will talk about Facebook as not only a tool for communication, but also as a tool for charity. Let’s explore this new and interesting facet of our beloved website.
Games have always played a large part of the Facebook experience: you can interact with your friends in new and exciting ways while also competing against people from around the world. But what if the points that are accumulated from playing these games could turn into real life benefits for someone else? This is the idea behind Sojo Studio’s first game, WeTopia. Combining the best of games that gripped the online world, such as Farmville, WeTopia allows players to build a virtual village. Each time they complete tasks such as building a school or planting a tree, they receive points (in the currency of joy) which can then be turned into actual monetary donations for real charities. In order to donate even more, players can pay for points that help them advance faster through the game. Some of the charities available for players to donate to include Action for Healthy Kids, Save the Children, and Alliance for a Healthier Generation. WeTopia, currently available in 20 countries, had at the time of its launch 42,000 avid players, and has been gaining more and more support since that time.
One of the game’s primary missions is to stop the mentality that people should only donate to a cause once. Instead, it hopes to foster the idea of continually giving back to the global community by reaching out to youth through their beloved social media. WeTopia also prides itself on the ability to tell its customers where their money is going. In a certain section of the WeTopia world, gamers can see the good deeds performed by the collective money (joy points) Facebook gamers have earned. As a teenager myself, seeing the numbers and stories behind the difference I have helped to make is a personal motivator for me to continue in my efforts.
WeTopia is an exciting new initiative that marries social media, gaming, and charity. It allows each and every one of us, no matter of age or financial situation, to be a part of making someone else’s life a little bit better. Next time you mindlessly click open to Facebook, remember to spend some time playing this game so you can give back to the global community we are all a part of. Spread the Joy.