Health and Social Networking? Would You Mix the Two?

Health and Social Networking? Would You Mix the Two?

Campbell Faulkner
Oct 11, 2010

We have often pondered incentives and utility theory during our graduate education (Political-Economy/Math) and were thinking how external social input might change a person's choice calculation. This is Unplggd health month and it led us to formulate how technology and incentives might influence healthy decisions. The question is: would having external incentives like Twitter or Facebook be effective in promoting exercise through public scrutiny and shame?

Staying in shape for some is easy while for others it is pure torture. As part of our query, it would seem to provide some sort of motivation if other helped to track your weight and fitness level. Obviously, much of the theory here is ad hoc, but it could be presumed to function like Weight Watchers or AA. Social media would seem to provide an excellent way for other to both encourage and chastise someone for not meeting their goals. However, if one has some mean friends, this could be disastrous. We are not advocating an experimental psychology or economics research agenda, but instead want to know if you would be willing to let your Facebook friends monitor your health. Hit us with the comments below.

(Top image: Flickr user indywriter licensed under Creative Commons)

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