Goalpost hopes to set up changes in a 12-week game
A Wellington start-up is grabbing attention locally and overseas as it attempts to breathe a bit of fresh life into anti-smoking programmes.
Social Code has developed a free web and mobile application called Goalpost, which uses social media and games to help people make positive lifestyle changes.
Its initial focus is on helping people quit smoking and, within two months of launching, the "app" has gained more than 500 "users" - over half of them from overseas.
Goalpost has also gained the backing of Quitline and the Health Promotion Agency.
Founder Siobhan Bulfin says Goalpost is designed as a 12-week game, with a series of tasks and challenges to help people stay on track.
Users are also encouraged to think about what triggers their smoking and to invite their friends to be online supporters.
They even have a "panic button" to alert their friends and the wider Goalpost community if they feel like giving in.
Bulfin says before Goalpost she was a marketer with a deep interest in game design and the social power of online communities.
But it was helping her sister find online support for cancer sufferers that really sparked Goalpost into being.
"It was really an epiphany for me because it really showed how people around the world can provide support to one another to help them through things like breast cancer."
Tackling smoking is something Bulfin has always been passionate about. "My mother smoked, she died when I was young and it may have been smoking-related.
"My dad . . . instilled in all of us a real sort of sense of ownership in our health. I think it just highlighted how empowering good health can be and how limiting ill health can be."
Because Goalpost is free, Social Code ultimately hopes to earn its revenue from partnerships with health promotion agencies.
- © Fairfax NZ News