I’m on Facebook a lot. That’s an understatement; I think I am on Facebook more often than some of their engineers. For a young adult that grew up in the era of computers, social-networking, and cell phones that are capable of doing just about anything other than scratching your own butt – I am still way too engulfed in the virtual world of interpersonal relationships.
Prior to the birth of RemixYourHealth I was a fair-weather social-network user. In fact, if you speak with my college roommates, it actually took a bit of convincing to get me to join (circa 2002-3). Nevertheless, over the last several years I began to see the value in knowing what my 234890 closest friends were doing at every minute of the day. Especially when I felt like I was personally witnessing bad break-ups or the start of a budding romance in my news feed.
Whether we want to believe it or not, Facebook has become one of the strongest vehicles for communication throughout the world. It literally makes distance obsolete by allowing people inside the lives and thoughts of family, friends, and the people we stalk regardless if they are down the street or across the world. More recently Facebook has become a platform for awareness, initiation, and most importantly change.
As I’ve mentioned before, the original concept of RemixYourHealth focused around the idea of creating change. Our question was, “How do we take what we know in the fields of exercise, nutrition, health, and wellness and place it in a perspective that invigorates and excites people alike to help take health promotion to a whole new level?” More importantly, how do we utilize social-networking to help overcome hesitancy to change – which usually develops from a lack of knowledge, comprehension, or the thought process of “why should I care.”
Social-networks like Facebook and Twitter allow for all three of those questions to be answered in a very unique way. If we look at the first issue – lack of knowledge – we can see exactly how this can be eradicated.
How often do you see on a friend’s status a question being proposed that suddenly has 15 comments and several people who have “liked” the comment or question? What’s even more impressive is the actual research (googling) people will do almost instantaneously just to be the first person to respond, educate, or prove a point. Teachers and professors are probably thinking, “If it was only this easy in the classroom.”
Not only has Facebook created a network of friends, but also a network of over-eager researchers and fountains of knowledge that become the worlds most powerful and swift moving Ask Jeeves.
The second issue when dealing with hesitancy of change stems seamlessly off the first issue regarding a lack of knowledge. I feel that in order to fully understand a situation, you must first be educated on the problem at hand. Although this sounds like a no-brainer, it often becomes one of the largest obstacles in health behavior change (i.e. the negative health implications of smoking). As you can see, education doesn’t always guarantee comprehension. Fact: Since the 1960’s the world has been well aware of the negative health implications of smoking. Interesting enough, millions of people still smoke each year? This shows that change; specifically health behavior change goes well beyond just the education component.
How can the utilization of a social-network help this issue? Simply put, if one person has a question than probably 100 people have that same question. In a network full of peers, you are bound to come across someone who has been in a similar situation or shares/has shared similar experiences that can help you understand what’s going on. There’s a reason why the buddy system works. A strong community usually produces strong, well-educated individuals. With 500 million + users between Facebook and Twitter, help is bound to be a message, like, comment, or poke away.
To tackle the last issue – why should I care – I propose this question, why not? What do you have to lose believing in making a positive change in yours or someone else’s life? Regardless of whether you fail or succeed, I guarantee you will become much more aware of who you are as a person and what you are capable of than ever before. I know it’s not easy, but honestly, nothing ever worth accomplishing is easy.
We’ve all hopped onto Facebook and/or Twitter and have come across several of our friends that “like” breast cancer awareness month or are attending an event to help raise money for leukemia and lymphoma. Maybe they are on to something? It’s quite possible that they have stumbled across a cause, event, or even a website that you would have probably never seen otherwise if it wasn’t for the magnitude of information disseminated across social-networks. Maybe, maybe you should care?
Regardless of the medium in which you do it in – whether it’s a tweet, re-tweet, comment, poke, like, event, or even sharing on your wall. Your support makes a difference. Since the creation of Facebook, there have been policies, rules, decisions, and donations made on behalf of initiatives and movements started on Facebook. There’s nothing stronger than the power of your voice. We just ask that you make it heard.
So why change? Change is hard, change is difficult, change is stubborn, change is scary – but change is what we need in order to revolutionize the way we go by promoting health. Our country may be overweight and inactive, but we are hardly ever silent. Now is not the time to be silent.
Utilizing social-networks allows us to help promote programs, initiatives, and awareness at the click of a mouse to millions of people worldwide. My challenge to you: help us create the change we want to see in our health.
I want you to join our blog on WordPress, I want you to comment on our Facebook pages, I want you to follow us on Twitter, but most importantly, I want you to become activists on the topics that matter to you the most. See you on the inside – see you at the Remix.