“…It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”

I’m sure that you have heard the whole story that builds up to this scenario and can readily recall situations in your own life when it has rung true. What the “Important Job” that Nobody did is not detailed in the story. It is of interest to consider if “Exercise” was the “important job to be done that Everybody was asked to do”? More often than not, it is the social context that makes jobs important. Perhaps this the problem with Anybody is that they didn’t see Exercise as important?

Rather than blaming Somebody, some of my research colleagues in the Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center at the University of Southern California undertook a multidisciplinary project to produce and evaluate an intervention that was designed to help make exercise important to Anybody. Since self-monitoring and social context/support are important factors in helping to support positive health behaviours, the project focussed on developing an interactive socially networked physical activity diary,  rather that directly on  the exercise.  However, they went further than this and added various game features aimed at rewarding diary postings and helping Somebody to encourage Everybody to do the “Important Job.”

The Los Angeles based team have undertaken a comprehensive piece of work from initial concept and design through to production and evaluation. You can read the published research paper about the Wellness Partners project online and it will give you valuable insight into the whole process and the many issues that arose and pointers for future research.

And the moral of this story is: “Tell Somebody, the next time they try to blame Anybody, by saying that Nobody has produced any evidence to support game-based approaches, that Everybody has just done it!”

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