Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tweeples in the Royal Kingdom

I have had a Twitter account for a while now.  You could find me @jessrandall, and you still can.  But I wouldn't bother.  For @jessrandall, Twitter is an input function only.  I have been following a handful of news organizations, celebrities and such just to get info like headlines, Hollywood gossip and concert dates. Twitter was okay for me.  It gave me something to do if I had down time waiting for a meeting and something to look at if I couldn't fall asleep at night.  I tweet from this account on a rare occasion, mostly because I  am afraid that they will deactivate my account if it doesn't occasionally show some activity.  Tweets are generally uninspired and impersonal.

When I got Digit, I decided I wanted to tweet my results, and I thought I may enjoy tweeting about my fitness journey as I work towards my Disney Princess Half Marathon goal.  So I created @princessjruns.  I started out following Biggest Loser contestants.  And then a few health and fitness people.  A trainer here or there.  Runners.  And people who want to be runners.  People who want to be skinny.   Then I followed a few nutrition freaks and physicians.  And suddenly I was part of this huge fitness community.  Oh, I follow a few Disney fanatics too.

I fell in love with Twitter. 

I am skeptical of using the word community and social media in the same sentence.  My whole career is based on creating community, in the real world.  Social media can often create roadblocks to that process. Community to me is fundamental to happiness--Biblical, spiritual and totally essential to humankind.  Relationships blossom in community and reflect Divine intentions.  It shouldn't be a word used loosely.

But that is what I have found in Twitter. A group of supportive people, dedicated to the same goals I have.  A community.  It is full of men and women who wish to share information, support and inspire one another.  And it doesn't matter that we don't know each other.  Sometimes I think that is actually better.  One person I follow once tweeted "Twitter makes me love people I don't know.  Facebook makes me hate people I do."

There are several benefits to joining the fitness community on Twitter (besides a sense of community, albeit virtual).
  • Motivation--listening to others stories helps me stay on track.  Plus when I need direct assistance I ask for it.  I may tweet:  "Help!  I can't get motivated to get to the gym."  In less that 5 minutes I get at least three responses that range from "Go girl! You can do it" to "Maybe an at home workout?  I like this one (link)."  Suddenly I have the strength to strap on my sneakers.                                               
  • Reality Check--Guess What?  Real fitness people struggle too.  I have witnessed, via tweets, trainers and fitness specialist totally mess up.  They gorge on brownies after a crappy day, they hit a wall during a workout and quit.  The have shitty days and sing Cee Lo lyrics.  If they can do it from time to time, I certainly can.  If they pick them self up and hop back on the wagon, I certainly can. There is something empowering knowing that even the fitest of the fit struggle in the same ways I do.
  • Knowledge IS Power--So much good info gets shared!  I have been directed to many articles about health, wellness, nutrition and fitness that I would have missed without my tweeps!  For example, did you know that if you hang on while on the treadmill or elliptical and leave your arms stationary, rather than swing them you burn as much as 40% less calories?  Wow.  What a waste of time!  I have tested it via Digit, my bodybugg.  It's true!
  • Birds Of A Feather--Hanging with people who are like minded, helps keep my brain in the right place.  If I am feeling down or frustrated about my goals, I can turn to my twitter account to refocus, in a matter of seconds.  Plus I can help others too.  I love to respond to people needing motivation or kudos for their success as much as I like to receive it.
So if you are a Twitter skeptic, I get it.  But if you are looking for a place to connect with others on a fitness journey, like losing weight, training for marathons, or keeping your diet healthy,  reconsider. Twitter might not be exactly what you think it is.  For me, it is living, breathing community of kick-ass people who radiate positivity into my world from theirs--wherever they are!

And if you jump in to the Twitter pool--follow me, friend! @princessjruns