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The things we post to social media (Twitter, Facebook, who knows what’s next), define us. If we talk about fitness around the clock, our networks eventually will connect fitness to us – especially when they see us offline, too. (They will probably bring up offline what they saw online.)
“Christoph is now a runner and lost a lot of weight by tracking his calories,” is something people have said to me offline after they’ve seen me talk about those topics online. Our social media posts can also inspire action and change in others.
Say you post a lot of running updates:
“Not the fastest run today, but I kept going. Felt good. Slow running is still running.”
“It’s so nice out. Good time for a run.”
Others might be inspired over time and start running in part because of what they’ve heard from you. Just think, if everyone in our network talks about healthy behaviors who wouldn’t want to join the crowd?
Social media: Add value
What we post to social media can influence others. It can be meaningful to others connected to us. You may:
- Have found a new restaurant that is serving healthy or low-calorie foods.
- Have found a new running route. “Hey, this trail is now open” or “A sidewalk has been added in front of xyz school.”
There can be value in sharing those nuggets of information. I even think of it as being part of a real-time community newspaper. A traditional newspaper may not share that there’s now a sidewalk in front of that school, but it might still be of value to neighborhood runners.
Many running apps – like the Nike + app – allow you to share completed runs directly to social media. They even give you the option to share a map of the route. Personally, I prefer not to share my exact route for safety concerns, but you can if you want to.
I first heard of this app when I saw somebody else sharing a run from it on Facebook, so I would say them sharing the run helped me find and download an usable app. Again, somebody sharing their run and bringing this app to my attention added value to my life! I found a new and useful product.
Social media: We share things that make us happy
Why not share something, right? It’s supposed to be social. Why are we tempted to share certain things and not others? Jonah Berger says in Contagious: Why Things Catch On that we share things that make us happy (the high from running or exercising, for example) and things that make us mad (“I can’t believe …” ).
There’s research behind why we want to share that we just ran a new record distance or pace. We are happy about it and when that happens we are more likely to want to share it with everyone.
In the best case scenario it might inspire others. Some might get annoyed by the posts. Honestly, it’s easy enough to hide specific posts or people if we don’t want to hear about those runs or weightlifting workouts.
When it’s important to us and we think it’s relevant to our networks, lean on the side of publishing the information. There is a chance that people will appreciate it, maybe not all, but many – and not all of them will tell you that they appreciated the information or that it got them to start or step-up a healthy lifestyle.
For more on how and when to share stories, check out The Authentic Storytelling Project.