Wanna meetup? Social media offline

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Let’s face it.. working out alone can be tough. We all want to get the recommended amount of physical activity in daily, but we get busy, tired, or just plain unmotivated. Improving health is made easy with meetup.com. This was unknown and somewhat uncomfortable territory for me, however after signing up for an account a whole new world is at my fingertips! Hiking, biking, running, yoga, dog walks, ping-pong tournaments, and so much more are all groups that I can join that are within 5 miles from where I live that incorporate my interests.

Meetup focuses on people finding others locally that share interests and can participate in a huge range of group events and activities.

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Just by joining a few groups, I already have 27 possible meetups to attend, and by entering my location I have 321 meetups nearby!

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“Social Media Update” from the Pew Research Center shows that while Facebook has the highest number of users, other social media platforms have higher rates of growth. Meetup is not mentioned specifically, however this platform has so much potential to be used in many different ways. After signing up for an account and clicking a few different boxes sharing your interests, groups are presented that you have the opportunity to join. Health, wellness and exercise in many forms are all interests that can be chosen by the participant and then they are able to choose specific events (or start their own group/event) to attend that highlight their interests.

The in-person aspect makes meetup extremely unique when it comes to social media. This is not a site that you simply join and post online- you attend events, spend time with people actually participating in the activities that share common interests. This actual meet up transcends all generations, especially those that aren’t completely tech-savvy or simply prefer in-person interaction. “Social Media Update” also emphasizes the large number of the 65+ population that are now using various platforms of social media, and this hybrid meetup formula could be the beginning of these seniors using social media to improve their own health.

The “meetup” adds a community component to fitness and exercise, and this element of support and encouragement can really aid in success of health goals. Participants in these events know that they are not struggling by themselves, and they can form relationships within their meetup groups that may help them stick to their fitness targets and be accountable to more than just themselves.

So what do you say… you wanna meetup offline?

References:

http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2015/01/PI_SocialMediaUpdate20144.pdf

meetup.com

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5 top ways people use social networking for health without even knowing it

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There is no denying the pure enjoyment from reading the latest tweet from Ellen DeGeneres or the 10th meme of the day featuring Grumpy Cat on your Facebook page. These procrastination aids have their time and place, as they should. However, if you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground you may have also caught on to the incredibly useful applications of social media in the health sector. The growing popularity of social networking sites with their interactive functions, ease of use, and wide applications make them excellent vessels for dissemination of health promotion messages.

 
Here are just a few examples of public health campaigns that I came across that very effectively use social media as their promotional outlet.

 
The Condom Pledge – Facebook
A public health campaign to normalize condom use in youth across the globe.

Malnutrition – Twitter

Moving pictures, posts, and statistics of global malnutrition.

Overweight Hikers For Health – Meetup

An interactive group that uses community support and regular meetings to help address obesity and lose weight.

 
Here Comes Everybody discusses the link between personal motivation and collaborative production. Social media has given the general populous the keys to the kingdom in which individuals, businesses, and institutions can network within the health sector, promote to clients, and share inspiring stories promoting public health. If I were to ask you, “How do you use social media for health?” I would expect a couple blank stares, a large amount of outright denials, and only a few examples. But since you are reading this blog, I think its safe to assume a few things. A) You have some link to the outside world. B) You are not stranded on a deserted island. C) You have at least a small degree of interest in health. I would also venture a guess that you use social media for health without even knowing it.

 

To prove my point, here is my list of 5 top ways people use social media for health without even knowing it

#1 – Snapchatting your summer beach bod. Been hitting the gym? Been passing up that ever so tempting doughnut shop on your walk to work?  Well you’ve put in the work. The time. The grind. The 6 AM Pilates session before your 9-5. The 11 PM cross fit after you put the kids to bed. Why not snap a few pics? You’ve earned it. And without knowing it, your self promotion has quickly turned into health promotion. So go ahead, flex and text.

 
#2 – Liking and sharing on Facebook. Have you ever read a moving piece about starving children and clicked share? Posted a story about the controversial topic of medical marijuana just to stir the pot? “Liked” your personal gym or favorite healthy restaurant? If that’s a yes, then guess what… Yup, you guessed it.

 

#3 – Health Apps on smart phone. There are now over 100,000 apps dedicated to mobile health, most of them gratis. 19% of smart phone owners have at least one of these apps. Whether it is the Whole Foods Market app, MyFitnessPal app, WebMD app, or drugs.com app, there is a plethora of health promotional material out there just a swipe and click away.

 

#4 – The “Wow” pics on Instagram. Made it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro? Get a great shot of a moray eel while scuba diving? Snap a selfie of you hanging ten off the coast of California? Not only do these pictures demonstrate your high octane lifestyle and your uncanny ability to take perfect pictures while flying through the water or air, they also help to promote an active lifestyle and encourage your viewers to get off the sofa and stretch their potential.

 

#5 – Online community. For your friends and family who are chronically ill, temporarily or permanently confined to a hospital or assisted living environment, or are otherwise unable to actively engage with you in person, social media allows you to stay in touch with each other and helps to minimize the feelings of social and geographical isolation.

 

So there’s the list. Did you fall into 1 of the 5?

3 social networking tools for meeting like-minded professionals

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Ever wanted to meet or network with people that share your same interests but don’t know where to start? Make sure to get connected to the following 3 social media networking tools.

LinkedIn, Meetup and Facebook are social networking tools that provide a platform for like-minded professionals to share information, collaborate and build communities of practice allowing discussion of current topics such as industry latest news, trends and market data.

What are communities of practice?? Communities of practice are a group of people who converse about some shared task or topic in order to get better at it. 1

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn logo

LinkedIn groups provide a place to share content, find answers and improve dissemination of research. You can either join a group or start your own group. Is very easy to create a LinkedIn account and to join a group. I suggest the following tutorials:

Lynda LinkedIn tutorials: http://www.lynda.com/LinkedIn-tutorials/Up-Running-LinkedIn/383249-2.html

How to join LinkedIn groups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWcmG6XwDvk

For public health professionals I recommend the following groups: Public Health Institute, American Public Health AssociationHealth Communications, Health Literacy and Social Scientists Group.

You can also follow the LinkedIn speaker series in YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=LinkedIn+speaker+series

The book Social Media for Social Good2 includes a section on how LinkedIn groups are also great tool to promote non-profits. A best practice for non-profits is to think about a group name that will help build interest and avoid narrowing the scope of conversation.

Facebook groups:

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Another platform to share information and learn from other professionals in the field of health is Facebook groups.

In a survey conducted in September 2014, the Pew Research Center finds that Facebook users continue to be very active. Fully 70% of users engage with the site daily. This means is very likely for users to respond to your post, comment or questions in a timely manner.

Meetup:

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Looking for ways to be connected with others in your local community? Check out meetup http://www.meetup.com

This networking tool helps you meet people in your local community that share your same interests. I conducted a quick search in my area and found many health related groups. This networking tool is an alternative for those who prefer the face-to-face interaction.

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Blog References:

1 Clay Shirky (2008). Here Comes Everybody. Penguin Books, New York.

2 Heather Mansfield (2012). Social Media for Social Good: A How-To Guide for 

Nonprofits. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Meet-up: the good & the bad

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Meetup’s mission is to “revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference”.

The good:

This social media website has awesome capabilities of connecting people over shared interests, who live within the same community. This was my first time using Meetup, and after selecting my interests, I was shocked at the massive number of Meetups available all within five miles of where I live. I signed up for mostly fitness,nutrition, wellness, and yoga groups and there were  373 meetups fitting my interests. 373!!!! WOW!!!

In our digital world, the idea of having a  face to face interaction is refreshing, and to put the icing on the cake, you will be meeting up over a shared interest. Finding a way to form  this kind of connection with others is exciting. I always find it empowering to talk to people with like interests, so I can only imagine how powerful it must  be to see  people coming together for a meetup.

In the public health world, this is a recipe for success. Having the ability to mobilize communities and to expand upon community engagement is key  if we want to create change and to promote health.

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The bad:

To join a meetup as a member is free, however, to be an organizer costs money. There is a monthly fee from anywhere for $12-$19/month, depending on the number of months you are signing up for. For organizers, I can see this being a turn-off. There are other websites similar to this, that are completely free.

A little background, when the company started in 2002, it was completely free to all. When creators changed it to fee based structure for organizers after the first three years of business, there was a huge amount of backlash,activity dropped by 95%. Some even surmised that the company would go under within a year.  However, they survived, and thrived, illustrating why this social media outlet is important:  people want to connect with other people. To drive the point home, there are roughly 2 million Meetups a year worldwide.

Below is a film clip of Meetup founder Scott Heiferman discussing the company dealt with bad press.

 

 

All in all, this a powerful tool to connect people over shared interests.

reference: http://www.inc.com/chris-beier-and-daniel-wolfman/meetup-scott-heiferman-start-up-suicide-when-meetup-went-from-free-to-fee.html