Leveraging Twitter to Help You Get Fitter

by Nikhil Torsekar
January 24, 2013

[ibimage==21690==Small==none==self==ibimage_align-right]At first blush, running and social media have very little in common. The former is all about getting in shape, clearing the mind, and pursuit of the endorphin release colloquially known as "runner's high." A quick 5k along the lake or on the treadmill is frequently the perfect antidote to an avalanche of emails, meetings, slide decks, and TPS reports.

Social media, in contrast, can be a sedentary pursuit that leaves us introverted and information-overloaded – more fixated on events in the virtual world than the here and now.  As noted by Harvard Business Review contributor Daniel Gulati, dire consequences often result when social media is coupled with the excessive notifications of an iPhone or other mobile device.

Picking up the Pace
The seeming "Facebook / Fitness" incongruity was obliterated by a recent Twitter chat that I participated in. To the uninitiated, a Twitter chat is essentially an updated version of the "chat rooms" of days gone by: organizers select a hashtag, send out an invite, and then Twitter users participate in a rapid free-form exchange of ideas or a structured Q&A session via the microblogging service.  CNN recently provided a helpful primer of sorts on Twitter chats, whose topics run the gamut from health care to technology, to use of Pinterest.

Let's Go to the Hop
[ibimage==21691==Original==none==self==ibimage_align-right]Mana Ionescu, owner of LightSpan Digital and Chicagoland digital marketing maven, invited a few social media / running enthusiasts to participate in a discussion about integrating Twitter, Facebook, and other services into our running routines. Our dialogue was aggregated under the "#marketinghop" hashtag, and then summarized in a post at the LightSpan Digital blog. I had long been a believer in the one-two punch combo offered by social media and fitness, having used Facebook to raise funds for American Cancer Society DetermiNation team and turning to the NikePlus community as a source of motivation.

This discussion re-affirmed my belief in the community-building aspect of social media in running. Additionally, I formed connections with a few like-minded Tweeps who I'll likely see at the Shamrock Shuffle or other upcoming Chicagoland races.  Thanks Mana and the other #MarketingHop folk for this highly enlightening exchange; I look forward to the next one!

Let's Do This
To those on the fence, I suggest lacing up those kicks, firing up the iPod, setting up a Nike Plus account, and connecting with others via running-related hashtags (eg, #runchi, #runnerd). Put the "social" back in social media, and share the pleasure (and sometimes pain) of physical fitness.  Remember that every thousand mile journey begins with a single step (or Tweet)!

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