A New Use for Social Media

Note: I normally don’t use the blog to write about my personal life (well, except for the Daily Twitter Digest that’s generated). But since this is connected to social media and to my library friends online, it has its place here.

The backstory

I am a social media addict. Not in the foursquare sense or the I have thousands of friends or followers. No, I’m a social media in the sense that I’ve built an online network of friends. On Twitter, most are librarians or educators, but some are from other professions. I’ve met a few of these people in person; most I haven’t and never will. On Facebook, it’s a hodge-podge of family, friends I grew up with, college friends, work colleagues, other librarians, and other random people in my crazy network. Listening to Malcolm Galdwell’s The Tipping Point made me realize I’ve got multiple circles of friends, which is a possible explanation for how I can run into someone I know in just about any situation or quickly connect a new acquaintance with someone I know. It’s pretty crazy. But that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that until now, I’ve almost always used these two networks to answer technology questions, to encourage people, to answer library-related questions, to vent, and to stay in touch. But I have now found an extremely powerful and motivating and possibly lifestyle changing use for these networks.

Walking Journey

About three weeks ago, I decided to start walking again and work toward a more healthy lifestyle that did include losing some weight, but ultimately, just eating and living more healthy again. Health problems are slowly starting — I’m too young for them!!

I’ve slowly been working up to this, kicking my pop addiction (mostly) and giving up (for the most part) fried food. As I started walking, I posted on FB and Twitter that I was starting walking, and received lots of encouragement. What had held me back previously is that encouragement; it wasn’t there. I don’t have a walking partner or a roommate to encourage me (my cats don’t count on this, unfortunately). I’d tried to start walking again previously, but never had posted it to FB before. Wow, did my friends respond with encouragement. So I walked again. And again. And again. By the end of that first week, I was pretty motivated. Then a discussion broke out on one of those FB postings, that talked about dailymile.com, a social network where you can track your fitness progress. Several of us agreed that we wanted to start an accountability group online for fitness.

Social Media provides the motivation and connections

The next day, I tweeted to someone who had also started working out recently,

.@jlborgerding @pollyalida @mlibrarianus & I are starting a librarian walking/running accountability grp online; anyone else want 2 join us? (Tweet Link)

Several others responded on Twitter and on Facebook that they were interested. Then, @jlborgerding discovered that Dailymile.com had groups and she started a Fit Librarians group! As of this writing there are 23 members. Dailymile can be used to track any type of fitness: walking, running, biking, rollerblading, aerobics, weights, exercise machines, swimming, etc.

That group has definitely helped me post and track my walking sessions, and motivate other friends on the site.

Eating Healthy

But tonight really showed me the power of how FB & Twitter will help me truly change my lifestyle. I posted early this afternoon on both sites:

Trying to eat more healthy. What’s your #1 nutrition tip? Also, I’m working on eating more fruits & veggies–any you’d rec? Thx!

Here’s the complete list I received (minus the names to protect the innocent :)). The list and information and response floored me. I will be looking into all of the suggesions, and hopefully giving most of them a try. I hope they help someone else, too!

  • I find I’m hungriest when I don’t eat enough protein. Beans, nuts, and greek yogurt help. I’m not vegetarian, but don’t want to add more meat to my diet. (from Twitter)
  • drink lots of water. i make tea when i want to eat the deliciousness in staff kitchen. (from Twitter)
  • I love squash — yellow, green, zuchinni — a bit of butter, a shake or two of adobo seasoning, and garlic. Grill in foil pouch. YUM (from Twitter)
  • read “eating animals” then go vegetarian. been 5+ months for me šŸ˜€ (from Twitter)
  • I love eating what is in season locally. Fresh & not too much of the same. Fruits & veg! (from Twitter)
  • i like the idea of doing something w fruit/veggie to make them easier to eat. like cutting up and bringing in bag. but i never do it (from Twitter)
  • I’ll second the nuts idea. I keep some unsalted almonds in my snack stash to tide over in the late afternoon. (from Twitter)
  • I’ve found the best way 2b healthy is to log everything u eat. Makes u realize that you’re on your 30th mini candy bar (in my case). (from Twitter)
  • Can’t go wrong really, butter beans, black beans, lentils (w/ brown rice), natural peanut butter, almonds. Edamame is a standby too. (from Twitter)
  • re: healthy eating: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid (from Twitter)
  • EAT MEAT! (my sis the vegetarian would love this tip; sorry, couldn’t resist :)) (from Facebook)
  • Yes, a high protein diet coupled with a good exercise program is a very good way to get healthy. The more muscle you build, the higher your metabolic rate will be. Women shouldn’t be afraid of building some muscle with weight training (from Facebook)
  • give up carbonated/sugared drinks. eating more fruits & veggies is a good start. I think Adam is right – don’t give up meat – just eat less of it – particularly red meat. I know – the KS Beef folks do not like that advice! and all the corn growers don’t like it when I say avoid corn syrup in EVERYTHING! and it is in so many things. (from Facebook)
  • There was a story on NPR that talked about how it was when we started eating meat aka more protein that our brains began to evolve rapidly. If it weren’t for mean we’d might still be living in caves. OK back to the topic – my advice is drink more water and lots of it. Just wish I could do it (from Facebook)
  • Mind would be to workout. As much as you can either at home our the gym. And on eating just try your best to eat the right things (from Facebook)
  • Give up convenience foods. Cook with fresh foods from scratch. (from Facebook)
  • Drink lots of water (and no soda); exercise; think of protein as a side and make the veggies your main course; eat out only very rarely; learn to cook from scratch where possible (highly processed stuff tends to have the most icky suff in it); shop at the farmers market (from Facebook)
  • Don’t eat It if you didn’t cook. There’s so much salt and so many preservatives even in restaurant food. And aim for 80 oz ohmf water a day. (from Facebook)
  • BLTs!! lots of L & T and just enough B to make it really good. šŸ˜‰ (from Facebook)
  • Don’t eat it if you can’t say it! (from Facebook)
  • Make kale chips: devein kale (or chard) & cut into bite sized chips. sprary a baking pan & put the kale/chard pieces on it. spray pieces again & sprinkle with salt or other seasoning. bake in a preheated 425 degree oven till pieces turn dry & crispy. awesome taste! (from Facebook)
  • Lots of water, exercise, fresh food, lots of veg and fruits, exercise again. eat an apple a day, eat 2-3 dairy products a day. It is good to take calcium but the real deal is connected with weight loss. Did I mention walking 10,000 steps a day? my favorite fruit is blueberries. They are great even frozen. but eat a wide variety of colors. oh and the most important point is to journal everything you eat. (from Facebook)
  • Lots of fruit & veggies. But a bit of chocolate too (or whatever you love!) cuz you’ll just crave it if you deny yourself. šŸ™‚ (from Facebook)
  • #1 thing I’ve picked up from every nutritionist I’ve read or seen . . . cut out white sugar . . . it not only adds empty calories, but many believe it actually extracts nutrition from our bodies! #1 thing to add in . . . water and veggies like they said above are good, but another thing that is SADLY lacking in the American diet are fermented foods, so get some yogurt, kefir, kraut, kombucha, something fermented into your system every day if you can! (from Facebook)

So many good ideas; I know I’ll have to find what works best for me, but it’s definitely a start!

3 thoughts on “A New Use for Social Media”

    1. I know; if we all can meet our goals and motivate one another across the interwebs, wow. We’ll be living healthier, longer, and happier šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

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