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Summary:

Can social networking, the latest trend, help you with those hard-to-keep New Year’s resolutions? That’s a thought I had today while taking a nice, easy run and I believe the answer is yes. I’m not one to make resolutions, mainly because I’m not one to keep […]

FacebookstatusCan social networking, the latest trend, help you with those hard-to-keep New Year’s resolutions? That’s a thought I had today while taking a nice, easy run and I believe the answer is yes. I’m not one to make resolutions, mainly because I’m not one to keep them, but I used today to make a step in the right direction. As a formerly competitive track, road race and marathon runner, I’m well past my prime at 38. I can accept that, but unfortunately, I’m heading towards the other extreme: I haven’t been running or exercising nearly enough. Today I decided to change that with a plan that includes 30 minutes of daily activity. Scouring RSS feeds and typing posts and articles all day long doesn’t count as “activity”. ;) I think there’s merit in using a social networking tool to help in this situation.

In the past, I’ve joined virtual training groups where people share their activity plans, race results and such. While running today, I saw the similarity between those groups and the social networks that have recently taken root. Do I want to bore my Twitter friends with every bit of exercise and training info? Not necessarily, so I probably won’t user Twitter in this capacity. Facebook on the other hand, might be a good place to start for a few reasons.The status field in Facebook is a great, unobtrusive place to enter a planned or actual activity. My network can ride me when they see the status unchanged for several days or they can just follow along with my other, more standard updates like Photos, Videos and the like. Secondly, I can easily update my Facebook status while mobile with my iPhone, which is the device I usually have with me when doing exercise in the first place.How about the Groups function in Facebook? That adds another potential avenue to keep my resolution because I could easily start a group for like-minded folks that want to run, exercise or train for a marathon. Think of it like the old bulletin boards or virtual groups that I referenced above. It’s almost the next evolutionary step from a bulletin board or forum for a group to work together for goal achievement. Even better, I can use the service as a mini training log; Twitter and its archiving would be the better choice for me here.I used my own personal example here, but you can substitute whatever resolution or goal you’re working towards in 2008. Sure you can go it alone, but people are often much more successful when working together for common achievements. Again, I’m not big into resolutions, but this free approach already has me stepping in the right direction. Maybe it can help you too.

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  1. James Kendrick Tuesday, January 1, 2008

    RSS feed reading IS exercise, no matter what you say.

  2. I wish you well, Kevin, on your exercise endeavors. As an avid jogger myself, there’s nothing that beats the exhilaration of completing a good run.

    Bill

  3. Check out the Nike + iPod kit. Satisfies the social and geek requests.

  4. I agree with JK.

  5. Nike+ is nice, if you have Nike + iPod. http://nikeplus.nike.com/nikeplus/ . On a smaller scale, there’s this LBL site:
    http://exercise.lbl.gov/index.html

    It lets you log your mileage and compare your progress going across the country and with virtual training partners. As I’ve seen my virtual partners put up the mileage it has pushed me a bit to keep up!

    For a more general solution, a facebook app sounds the best approach to me…

  6. I hate you natural-born runners. There’s nothing easy about a 5K in 28:44!

  7. Isn’t this exactly what 43Things (http://www.43things.com/) is for?

  8. Mari, it’s a far cry from when I was doing the same 5k in around 17 minutes! ;)

    Bruno, 43Things is another excellent service / tool for the same thing. My point here wasn’t to say that Facebook is the best way to do this. I was trying to show people that there are more uses for social networks than they likely realize.

  9. Kevin: Fair enough, point taken!

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