Update: The Community Goal Feed is now launched -- let me know what you think! Our team told me that it might take a few hours for the new app to show up (variable for different Android users) and could be overnight for IOS users).
I’m posting this blog early to give you a sneak peek at a new feature launching in the next day or two on both the site and in the SP app. I hope you like it! We have been working hard on the technology behind this feature for many months. If you followed my blog when I was posting last year, you'll notice that many elements of this feature are what I was hoping to build back then -- in many ways this turned out better than I hoped :).
Quick additional note: we're launching this feature at the same time on the website and in our app because the feature is integrated in both places. This means that we need to wait for final approval from Apple and Google for the app and that timing can be variable. So we don't know the exact time of the launch, but wanted to give you a preview before the launch.
I’m writing to tell you some background and goals for our new Community Goal Feed!
This is an exciting new feature that will motivate you to take one small step to reach your goals in a fun and simple way. With your support, we hope to make this one of the most positive sources of social support in the world.
As part of this launch, we are challenging our members to reach 1 million posts to the Community Feed. I will be posting to the feed just about every day and hope you will join me to both reach your goals and help us reach 1 million posts together!
There are 3 types of posts you can make to the Community Goal Feed:
1) Text post sharing anything you’d like to say
2) Photo with any text you’d like to add
3) Completed goals posted directly to the feed (and include optional comment and/or photo). Goals can be selected from the 4 main areas of: Nutrition, Fitness, Motivation, and Other Goals. The feed will then display the type of goal you selected plus your optional comment. The goal selection process will be easy to understand once you start to make a post.
We’re very excited about having this type of community feed for the first time at SparkPeople building on our longtime supportive community. But I’m especially excited about being able to post Goals directly to the feed. I’ll share more about the reasons for this below.
As quick background, I originally started SparkPeople after putting together a personal improvement program that helped me conquer social anxiety. This program integrated the best of health and fitness with the best of goal-setting, leadership, motivation, and behavioral psychology. A co-worker used the same program and eventually lost 50 pounds and told me I changed her life. She went on to motivate a group of other people who said, “Pat, if you can do it, we can do it!” This was the original “spark” that led to SparkPeople – which then led to reaching our mission to “spark” millions of people to reach their goals using health and fitness as a springboard to success in all areas of life.
We believe this Community Goal Feed is one of the best uses we’ve ever had for this underlying program that integrates these areas in a way that makes it fun to reach goals – both because of the social support and the wide range of goals we’ll all be encouraged to track and share.
Another piece of background is that we have always had 4 main types of features on our site/app:
1) Tracking tools like nutrition and fitness tracker
2) Expert articles and videos from our team
3) A supportive community made up of people motivating each other
4) SparkPoints gamification as a way to make it fun to reach one small goal at a time.
For the first time ever with this community feed, we are integrating all 4 types of features into one main feature! We call this integration of goals into a community feed “socially-enabled goal tracking.” We think this will make the SparkPeople feed unlike any other type of feed and will make it valuable for our members to participate in this feed even if you already use other social feeds like Facebook. We will continue building out this feature including adding goal reports for goals posted to the feed plus several other ideas.
The Community Goal Feed can become a central place for all of us to “hang out” for this type of accountability to each other and to both motivate other people and be motivated by others – and have fun together. I plan to post to the feed several times per day as a way to keep me motivated and accountable to reach my goals. You can think of posting and commenting to the feed as a simple challenge that could change your life!
We hope to build a community spirit where we comment on each other’s posts for support and motivation. We’ve always seen in our community that even the smallest comments can make a big impact on someone. You don’t have to be an expert to motivate someone else. Every person has an ability to motivate other people. Even “liking” posts is a great way to show your support to other members. Once you start doing this, you might find that it’s addictive to spark other people to reach their goals by being a Healthy Leader and this positivity will translate to your own life.
If you are interested in updates on the feed, just follow my blog and I’ll send out periodic announcements.
We want to make this the most motivational and useful tools around for reaching goals in a fun environment.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you posting to the SparkPeople Community Goal Feed!
Here is a quick screenshot showing how the feed will look:
Chris “SparkGuy” Downie
PS To answer a couple of questions below:
1) This will not replace your Friend Feed
2) Yes, this will definitely appeal to people maintaining their weight. For example, there are goal options like "Listened to a motivational song" or "Read a motivational quote" plus many others that don't have anything directly to do with weight loss.