Akoha is an interesting phenomenon. It is a social networking service, like many others, allowing people to get in touch, and spend time together, but at the same time, it encourages people to perform good deeds, and support charities.
The idea for Akoha appeared during a conference devoted to 'ideas that could change the world'. Then, Austin Hill and Alex Eberts started discussing the ways to engage people in 'meaningful interactions', instead of the silly activities we usually have on social networking services. They put together a list of such activities, and transformed it into a game, which starts on the site, but goes out into the real world, and can have very real and tangible effects.
Once you register to Akoha, you get access to a whole list of missions to fulfill. They can be easy, normal or hard, depending on the time and effort required to finish them. Some are about taking and uploading photos, some about meeting real life friends, some about going to certain location.
Most of the missions are connected with local culture, helping others and maintaining good relationships with other people. None of the missions requires the player to do anything illegal, violent or rude.
Fulfilling each mission is awarded with points and awards, so those people who enjoy gathering badges and awards, and climbing up the hierarchy ranks will have a lot of fun and motivation.
Unfortunately, there's no hall of fame, or access to the most awarded users, you can only browse the users by name.
Most of the site is very pleasant to look at. Profiles are well designed, and the awards icons are lovely and meaningful. The users' list, however, is not very impressive. It just shows the names and photos of the users, but each photo has a different size, which gives a messy impression.
Akoha is one of the most inspiring social networking sites we can join right now. What's really important - the system motivates people to go out, and do something nice for each other. The missions might not be very demanding, but they are all either humorous, warm, or even helpful. Ideas like Akoha will most likely not solve global problems, but little steps like that and small good deeds can improve the lives of individual people.