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Reality Drop: The Climate Reality Project
Reality Drop is a new social media gaming tool developed by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project that aims to counter false information in the media about climate change with accurate information, and thus “reveal the denial and deception around climate change, spread the truth, and clear the way toward real solutions.”
The tool aggregates climate-related content from online media sources, and signals to users which stories reflect the truth about climate change, and which ones contain climate change denier myths such as “it’s not happening,” “it’s not bad,” “it’s not us” and “it’s too hard.” A scientifically backed claim is attached to each report marked as “denial,” which a user can then copy and paste into the comment section of articles and opinion pieces, thus performing a “reality drop.” Users are encouraged to tweak the text and use their own words.
The way the gamification works is that users gain points by “dropping reality” through their social networks or by posting in comment streams. The site determines how “hot” the articles are, and users get more points for responding to the hottest ones. Bonus points are accumulated when someone responds to a user’s comments and clicks back to the Reality Drop site. Participants who score 5,000 points are then invited to help evaluate the content of articles on the site.
Reality Drop was designed with the help of the ad agency Arnold Worldwide, which produced the anti-tobacco Truth Campaign (voted campaign of the decade by Ad Week). Al Gore used this analogy to announce the site: “Just like the tobacco companies in the '50s, the fossil fuel industry has engaged in a well-funded and coordinated effort mislead the public about the scientific reality of climate change. Reality Drop provides an easy, intuitive way for people to arm themselves with the facts, educate their friends, family, and networks, and call on the media to report the truth.”