Hallmark Social Calendar Becomes More Game-Like, Aiming at a New App Category

When Social Calendar got its start back in 2008, it was an application that essentially tried to outdo Facebook’s own Events function, keeping users up to organize events and keep up with important dates, like friends’ birthdays. In the time since then the app’s developers have added a number of features, but this year they’re going for a broader change.

That’s to make Social Calendar more like a game. CEO Raj Lalwani calls the idea a “new genre”, with all the features of social games — points, rankings, virtual goods and rewards — working in conjunction with tools intended to help people organize and manage their social life.

It’s not an entirely new idea. Facebook ubiquitous “poke” apps, from Food Fight to Show Some Love!, have evolved from a way to simply pester friends to more full-featured apps with virtual currencies and gifts. But even with the additional features, they tend not to engage users as much as actual games. Location-based apps like Foursquare arguably fall in the same category.

Social Calendar’s take goes a little deeper than its peers on Facebook, with multiple ways to earn “Social Points”, the app’s version of experience points. Earning these points revolves around four distinct categories: sharing, organizing, caring and socializing.

Each action results in earning Social Points, but the points are then applied to a category — if you create an event, for instance, your score in sharing goes up. After earning a few points, users will gain a title depending on their activities, while the points from all four categories are summed to determine a numerical level.

Your points are also available for purchases in the virtual goods store. Hallmark, which invested in Social Calendar last year, creates most of the content for the store, much of which is bought using social points; however, there are also coins that can be purchased with real currency.

Lalwani thinks that Social Calendar will have lasting appeal as a game, because it’s tied to the user’s real life. “At some point we could all get bored of FarmVille, but as long as I have friends and a social life this game could go on,” he says.