I’ll admit it – I’m surprised at how well virtual badges do when it comes to encouraging people to use a service. I gave up stickers when I was 10. (Maybe 12. 14, for sure.) But I’m no curmudgeon on the topic; whatever works, works. And so the badge system, made popular by Foursquare, has taken off. CNN’s iReporters can now earn the “On the campaign trail” badge, simply by downloading the free CNN election app. There are versions for Blackberry, Android and iPhone. Writes CNN: “We’ll be rolling out more badges in the next few weeks, so you will be able to earn them by posting iReports, jumping into the comments and getting involved in the community (we’ve also got a few surprise badges up our sleeves).” There’s something in the psychology of being honored with these virtual awards. I suppose it always feels nice to be honored. And everyone likes recognition. Aw, the heck with it – I’m getting me a badge.
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