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Certified! published on No Comments on Certified!

Originally published on ReadWriteWeb

So, speaking of certification:

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a big deal. It’s a lifelong title, and involves not only earning a fistful of merit badges, but organizing and leading a community service initiative. So returning that Eagle Scout badge in protest is a big deal, too… and as of today 150 one-time scouts have done it, in protest against the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to uphold its anti-gay membership policy.

I found out about it when fellow speechwriter Hal Gordon, who wrote for the Reagan Administration, blogged the letter he sent to the BSA (along with his badge), and linked to this Tumblr blog, Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges. Have a look – the letters vary widely in tone, but I was struck by the passion and, very often, sadness.

On a happier note, have you checked out Mozilla Open Badges? To make it easier for people to get recognition for the skills and knowledge they’ve gained, Mozilla has created an infrastructure that allows organizations to issue and manage badges that people who earn them can display across the web. (Naturally, the first badge you earn is the “I really get badges!” badge.) You collect your badges in your Badge Backpack, and the idea is you’ll be able to display them on your blog, a company web site or your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. It’s still a work in progress, but this could be the beginning of something awfully great.

Apparently, we DO need these stinking badges

Apparently, we DO need these stinking badges published on 5 Comments on Apparently, we DO need these stinking badges

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

I’m suddenly seeing badges everywhere.

Location-aware apps like Foursquare and Gowalla award them for things like visiting more than four venues in one night (the “crunked” badge) or checking into the kind of venue known for a particular personality type (the “douchebag” badge).

And now I’m getting badges in nearly every game and entertainment app I use, often with oddly low standards and notifications like “Award: Launching-the-App-for-the-First-Time Badge!”

This goes back – as all good things do – to video games; badges act like little food pellets that help keep you motivated in between levelling up and winning extra lives.

But there’s no question they work, so don’t be surprised when they start popping up in more mainstream applications. The Inbox Zero merit badge could well be built into the next version of Outlook; PowerPoint users (at least the ones I’ve been seeing lately) could be unlocking the “20 bullet points and 16 fonts in one slide!” badge.

Those badges seem to fill some deep-seated craving from our inner Brownies and Cub Scouts. All that’s missing is a proud virtual parent to sew them onto a digital sash for us… and I’m pretty sure that’s coming, too.