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SparkPeople Fail? (Community Feed Rant)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

So for the last couple of years here, I've been leader of a Spark Team.

I'd like to say that it's a great overall experience, but I can't (though there are some truly great moments).

It's too much work for too little return on the investment of time. Initially I blamed myself... there must be something I'm doing wrong... so I tried all sorts of things that I saw other teams doing in an attempt to generate some team momentum and energy. After trying many different things, many different ways to no great effect, I realized it's truly not me.

I've even invested time to the detriment of my own journey (reading/responding to team member blogs, starting new discussion threads, researching new resources, planning and executing team challenges, trying to make sure the team at least LOOKS active)... no longer blogging as much (which I love and prefer) and spending as much time checking in on my friends not on the team (who I miss). It's thankless, frustrating, and wears on my spirit. If not for the small handful of people who have expressed gratitude, and who have found what they needed to be successful on their journey, and the fact that I passionately believe in the team focus, I'd just abandon it altogether (like all of the previous leaders who found it equally disheartening have done).

Even more disheartening, is that this team and my experience is not at all unusual.

I know of many, many, MANY teams across a wide variety of interests and focuses that are in the same position, and I've heard many people sadly commenting on how quiet their teams have become. New Spark members often assume that the fault lies in leadership, and they go off and start new teams (further fragmenting the potential active membership) to equally disheartening results.

Today I ran across a blog by a member very upset, upon having returned after being away for some time, to find that SparkPeople is just not "what it used to be... supportive... people checking in with each other daily... brainstorming solutions when asking for help." I then noted that nearly all of her attempts to interact at this juncture were on the Community Feed, and something suddenly clicked for me.

Here's my response to her observations as posted to 'my' (rolls eyes) team feed... I thought I'd offer it here, too, in the hopes of reaching a wider audience, and perhaps even SPARKing a change in how SparkPeople functions (shift member focus/energy to teams/individuals... perhaps fewer points for Community feed comments/posts, and more for team participation and reading blogs? I don't know why there's a limit to how many points you get in a day for reading blogs and posting to teams anyway... is there some sort of shortage of available points? I also really don't know what would help... maybe I'm just old and see/value community differently):

To all of our faithful, participating, supportive team members THANK YOU for being here! You are what makes this team AWESOME! We may be a very small group (12), but we are accomplishing so much together! Thank you, especially, for continuing to invest your time and attention even though some days it seems a bit pointless because no one else is here.

To everyone else (all 4,450 of you, LOL), listen up (especially you lurkers who show up throughout every month to take away what you can, yet never contribute even so much as a thank you):

I've been recently hearing from many that SparkPeople isn't the supportive place it used to be... and for too many members it really isn't, and I feel very badly for those who need the support but aren't getting it (I try to encourage as many as possible, because I remember what it meant to me, and find active teams to suggest, but that's really hard to find now). I've been watching, and asking myself why that may be so.

(Anybody else besides me notice the huge numbers of feeds that haven't been updated in literally years... or all the private SparkPages, and the people who comment on the blogs of others yet disable any avenue of response to their comments, and an increasing number of members who don't even have SparkPages and have disabled private messaging... yet they're interacting on the threads and leaving blog comments, but you can't get any sense of with whom it is that you're actually interacting!)

Here's what I've come to understand:

The support you miss and are looking for is still here, but you won't find it on the Community Feed. The feed primarily represents Spark App users, and isn't really conducive to forming the relationships that generate sincere connection and support. Posting to the Community Feed is largely a self-serving activity. Everyone simply and primarily drops in to post about themselves, their needs, their moment, to get their attention fix, and then they move on... it's a quick pay-off for virtually no investment. There is no consistency with regard to who is looking out for whom... yes, someone almost always responds (but not always), and never the same "someones" so there are no connections or relationships growing out of the interaction.

For sincere connection, support, and SPARK you have to INVEST: interact on teams, consistently support specific others on their journey, and get to know people as individuals. Blogging helps somewhat, because your blog does get you noticed on the team feeds, but unless you make an effort to also personally interact with and support others on those teams, people do eventually stop paying attention. Relationship and support are a two-way street. The more active I am in supporting others around here, the more support I receive in return... yet very little of that comes from the team I lead and take great pains to support.

Yes, I realize that many many SparkTeams are largely inactive... shockingly so in the last couple of years. That's because everyone is waiting for someone else to be the 'spark'... or is focusing on the short-term gain of interacting on the Community Feed, and not considering the long-term impact of neglecting to invest in the larger COMMUNITY.

(Ironic because Community 'Feed' implies that the Community is being fed, when it really isn't.)

September is coming up. It is a time when many people re-commit to crafting a healthy, inspiring lifestyle, and SparkPeople sees an influx of new members, and members who are regrouping.

I invite each of you to consider how you can get more out of this amazing resource that is SPARKpeople... especially if your own journey seems to be lacking in some way.

Ask yourself how much of your own SPARK are you offering to others, and consider making some changes.

Pick a team (and while we'd love to see more of you here, it doesn't have to be this one) and invest a little. You may be surprised at how quickly your own journey takes on new life, and you begin experiencing the true connection and support for your journey that you came here to find... or pick a half dozen people and commit to consistently taking notice of their daily ups and downs. BE the change you want to see.

Remember, if you don't use it, you lose it... and that doesn't just apply to your muscles!

*Mic drop*

P.S. A huge THANK YOU to all of those who continue to steadfastly support me on my journey here without "strings attached". It means the world to me. I also seem to blessed to have found a number of people who are less attached to the immediate gratification of the Community Feed, than they are to sincere connection of community and relationship.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Amen, Amen and Amen, Hallelujah Ramona!

    Sooo true, and I do feel fragmented trying to run around the various teams that (mostly) fell in my lap because of the dreaded "this team leader inactive for 60-90-120 however many days.."

    The community feed that caters to the SparkPeople App - it's a two-edged sword, isn't it? It really helps for a quick encouraging interaction of a new SparkPeople user. I try to think of it as a "feeder" stream, to encourage the app users to go check on in the desktop version for deeper more personalized helps. Very often I see questions that could be easily answered by them reading SparkPeople articles that I remember reading on whatever that topic is.

    I agree with @MERMAIDLIFE comments about general housekeeping, disabling a team after so many months of inactivity, or as often happens, one is formed by someone who didn't quite know how to search for what they were interested in, and later found out a team that was formed earlier and much more active. (I think that's what happened to some of the teams that I ended up becoming leader of because the stated leader didn't even seem to be on SparkPeople as an individual, let alone as a leader.

    The other thing that frustrates me (or is my own incompetence smacking me in the face) is that I seemingly don't get to the new users SparkPages easily from SparkApp to the Desktop. I wish that their screen names were hyperlinked in the SparkApp so I could easily leave the app and open my phone Safari browser (or android equivalent - and I ought to spend more time learning the various options available on my "backup" android phone.). I understood from an article somewhere that the @username was going to work across the platforms, kinda like we do on Twitter or Facebook, but oh well. So this is a thought not addressed to you, specifically, but questions and concerns that I need to copy and send to @support (it's just that your comments SPARKED some ideas that have been festering or fermenting up here in my skull.

    In my case, I seem to have good memory for general topics that I've read, and so when I read in Community App where a new person is commenting on some specific concer - maybe they are in a wheelchair or use crutches, and I can (or would like to) real quick show them, bam! "Here's a link or two or three to various articles or teams that deal specifically with your concerns..." But... when I'm in the car riding from hither to yon, as I frequently am, it's not easy to go back and forth between the SparkApp and the Safari and not suck up all my cellular data etc. and still be able to reach out and help someone RIGHT THEN (instead of waiting until dark-thirty to finally get on the desktop....

    So anyway...

    @MT-MOONCHASER brings in some interesting points that I've been guilty of - joining so many teams that it becomes a list of all my interests. At one point several years ago, I bailed out of like 30-40 teams because I just had too many to do justice... sadly...I'm back up to about the same number of teams. What happens frequently is I am doing a search on some topic that's of interest to me and there's a team for that. I join so I can ask my questions and learn, but then maybe the rest of the team just doesn't really participate or it just seems like a "shrill" for that leader's viewpoint, regardless of my opinions or experiences, and I quickly begin to feel like "that's not my home, those aren't my peeps..." I should bail out but even so, I do occasionally gain some benefit from things I do read in those teams.


    Anyway yea, great blog, really gets me thinking (haha, I practically wrote a blog in here - maybe I should just go ahead and make it "official", and re-work this into a post on my page. But... no need to steal your thunder either!!
    778 days ago
    This does make me think about the teams that I am on, and whether I should jettison even more of them. It's true, I feel like there's less engagement maybe this time around--I'd been off SP for a few years...wondered if it was just me. Maybe if the phone app didn't suck so bad, it would be better. I definitely felt like it was easier to make connections before!
    801 days ago
    Hi Ramona!
    Funny thing. I have not been active in a while. I was spending too much time on SP and received very little actual communication or support for all of my reading and commenting. I peeled my sparktime down to just a quick peek here and there and to check my nutrition. However, today, when I logged, there you were, bright as day, a familiar face in a sea of adds and pics.

    801 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/2/2017 4:35:19 PM
    Wow - as a relatively new spark team leader, I can see and agree with some of the frustrations here. I already feel some of them!

    I've also found a renewed interest in SP because I feel personally responsible for my teammates (at least the somewhat active ones.) I try to encourage and personally connect with them as much as possible.

    And just like you -- sometimes to my own detriment. I am, in fact, not being active at this very moment. Ooops.

    Thanks for your insightful post.
    808 days ago
  • ALOFA0509
    emoticon emoticon
    813 days ago
    Excellent blog full of sharp observations.
    But what got my attention was the author of one quote, the same author of "The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming", Henri J. M. Nouwen. This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read.
    818 days ago
    The community I belong to is everything in term of support and inspiration. Including you.
    823 days ago
    My theory is that Spark is trying to target the smart phone users to the detriment of those of us that actually sit down to a desktop (or laptop) computer to access Spark. You know those users, they snap a photo with their phone and with a touch on the screen they post them to Facebook/Instagram/Spark/whatever for all the world to see (as if the world even cared). And they named the child "Community Feed" and hid all the real, useful Community features from sight.

    I actually noticed a couple years ago that only a small percentage of new users actually set up a page that the general membership could access. I always suspected that Spark changed the default setting to private as they were making "improvements" to the site to be more smart phone friendly. I, too, am frustrated by seeing a blog link on a team only to click on it and find out the person is unavailable by any means. Although I do understand why some pages are "private", at least there is the option to send them SparkMail. Maybe there could be some way that those who are "offline" could be blocked from posting comments...

    As users of Spark we are free to use as many or as few of the features as we want, but I think a lot of us need to exercise some restraint. (I've seen users with more than a hundred teams - even if they were on Spark 24/7 they couldn't do them all justice) I know that I joined quite a few teams that interested me, but did very little interaction with them. It was kind of like listing my interests on my page with icons instead of writing them out... Since then I have cut them back drastically and have been thinking of cutting back some more, since a couple of them seem to be inactive. I kind of agree with the comment that maybe Spark should close down inactive teams, but who sets the parameters. Maybe forming a team should have stricter guidelines.

    As for the team bonus points, it is good to see them back, but they are certainly difficult to find access to.

    It's gotten so that I seldom look at the left hand side of the "Start" page. I do access it for the "old" community features like water and freggie tracking, etc.

    Enough of my rant, I doubt that it will make a difference...

    830 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/3/2017 7:57:31 PM
    Yes, although I'm a member in several teams I am not really active in them, partially because my aims have changed. I joined teams when something was important to me and then over time, things have changed and I'm just a member, but not an active one.

    I have, however, come across a team which interest me a lot and found out that nobody was active, including the administrators. So I contacted Sparkpeople to add me as administrator and they did.

    Just like I'm a non active member in those other teams, getting this team going again is difficult. But I just post for my own sake. A few people have now joined in, so hopefully we'll turn this into an active team again.
    And yes, I know, I should be more active in those other teams!

    831 days ago
    I agree with you. It's time-consuming to be active on Sparkpeople and to receive the support you are looking for. But frankly, as you said, it's an investment. This website and its method works... but you gotta put your energy into it... otherwise, like everything else, it's just wishful thinking. Stop thinking about it and start doing, that's what I came across lately.. and it works.
    Thank you for sharing, I hit the "I like" button in hopes other people find your blog.
    834 days ago
    Amen to your commentary Inflated! I plead guilty to overextending myself - joining too many teams when realistically I barely have time to keep track/keep active on ONE!
    However I do have a qualifier - I took my SparkPage/feed private out of concern for cyberstalking/harassment by my ex & his GF during the final round of custody battles over my son. I know I am still stalked even though the child is now "technically" all grown up (19), so I'm reluctant to let it all hang out in public. Not to mention I have not enjoyed all of the success I had hoped for (What, you've been "Sparking" for 7 yrs, net loss of 30 lbs with 50 lbs you still "ought" to lose??!!??) - to all my fellow introverts, stand up! Just not too close, thanks!
    837 days ago
    Your blog gives much food for thought. I appreciate hearing a team leaders view point on these issues.
    839 days ago
    I appreciate the fact that the Spark app and Community Feed are enabling a LOT more people to start engaging with Spark People. But I agree with you, it's a bit like Instagram at times.

    I also think that some people join too many teams, or forget to 'leave' teams when they're no longer interested in them. I also lead a team that only has a small number of really active members, but the lurkers often surprise me, and I always have them in mind. The key to me staying interested in 'my' team, is that I really believe in it.
    839 days ago
    Great reflections here. I don't really do teams, but through them I have found a dozen or so folks that I follow closely, and they are my community. I kind of do the opposite of the 'community feed' in that I disclose very little on SP (for work reasons I need privacy) and I don't blog. But I get so much from others' blogs and try to support them through comments and notes and goodies etc. I hate the community feed and basically ignore it. Though I resent that it takes more than half my screen!
    839 days ago
    I don't participate on the teams I have joined. When I open my e-mail daily, there is generally 50 or more to answer. I do answer anyone that comments on my blogs provided they have a page where I can. I don't have a Smart phone or use apps.

    There is a lot expected out of a person here at Spark People. Log your food, log your exercise, write a blog, reply to comments on your blog. It takes me several hours to reply to my e-mail and I don't like being on the computer that long.

    I feel sorry for team leaders and I don't feel they are failures. For me, I have thought of going to a site where all I have to do is log my food. It just would fit "me" better and give me more time for other things I have to do in a day's time.

    I look at my friends list and a number of them haven't been heard from for years. I know at least one person died. Others have left the site, but there is no way of telling that. So I do it this way. I hope that you won't feel that the problem with being a team leader is your fault. I just think that others are like me and sometimes Spark People takes up too much time.
    839 days ago
    I was away from Spark for 4 years. I so agree! when I left in 2013 I didn't have the app. I only had the desk top version. I rejoined by first getting the app on my phone. I liked it, but missed the actual connection I had in 2013. SO, after a week or so I jumped back on the computer version to start being involved on the teams again. It would seem that a lot of people are only using the phone app. But, I agree, I want more people to be more active and find the community I was missing. I have made that connection with one person, but miss having a handful of people I check in on, and check in on me. I do find the community feed to be shallow and not at all genuine.
    840 days ago
    I really appreciate the thought and eloquence you've put into this blog. I do not contribute much to "teams" but I do blog and I most definitely comment on other peoples' blogs . . . and I do value the community of people I've met here very much!
    840 days ago
    Thank you for posting this, Ramona. I am INCREDIBLY guilty of lurker-ness on this and a few other team pages. Part of it is truly that I don't feel like I have much to offer, as I've (thus far) fallen relatively short of my goals with regard to weight loss.

    I was very grateful (and am) to have found SP at the beginning of this year. The 13-ish lbs that I've lost are almost entirely owing to knowledge that's been sparked by this site and support from a few amazing people with whom I interact regularly.

    That said, I find the community feed so incredibly abhorrent that it may be the thing that knocks me off of SP altogether. (I removed the app from my phone ages ago). Yes, I know that I can restrict the feed to "my people." But, the thing is, the feed has made me aware (or at least it's given me the distinct impression) that the vast majority of folks on this site do not share my desire to exist as part of an ACTUAL community of people who are striving to learn and to grow and to become healthier in the broadest sense. It's just become another Twitter or Facebook but, frankly, with less interesting/relevant content. I just don't need the noise and it is a true de-motivator.

    THAT said, your post is inspiring me to dive in deeper to the teams I am "active" on and to drop out of the ones I'm not. And to ignore CF instead of wasting time and exasperating myself by reviewing it. I will try to be more of what I appreciate in others. I have definitely appreciated your posts and those of others on this team. Thanks for the nudge!!
    840 days ago
    I'm with you Ramona. Before my six years away from SP I was the leader of a team here in Canada and found that it was becoming more and more difficult to motivate members; I literally felt like I was beating a dead horse on many days. Coming back I find that many of those same members are still trying to lose the same weight ten years on and complaining about how difficult exercise has become. Makes me want to scream "Just Do It Already!"
    I am always excited when I read incredible blogs from folks like you and Jeanknee, you both motivate me hugely. You are the kind of members who get my time and support. Perhaps SP could make a greater effort to peruse blogs and highlight those that offer real meat rather than fluff. I seldom track fitness minutes anymore (I have my weekly schedule that I hold myself responsible to) and I also have my week's food intake pre planned. There simply isn't time in my day to deal with multiple checklists but I do realize that many members need that structure in order to stick with their efforts.
    September has always been my New Year and perhaps members will become more focussed and participatory as the new month begins. Rest assured that my small list of SP friends (12) gets my attention every day and if support or congratulations are in order they will follow.
    840 days ago
    WOW … what a blog. I agree with some … and have a different point a view on some. But that’s what SparkPeople is alllllll about. Thank you very much for sharing!!!!!

    Spark Guy started this forum for people to be able to share, motivate, learn and connect with like-minded people. People who come in all shapes and sizes … backgrounds and experiences. People with different time constraints, levels of commitment and openness to share.

    Each “stranger” we meet has the potential to become a Friend. However, we “meet” them … be it the Community Feed, Teams, our blogs or any of the millions of opportunities here.

    I have been a part of teams and challenges as a member and as a co-lead … and have been more than frustrated when the “communication” seems to be a prolonged pity parties and long list of excuses … started with 50+ active members to dwindle to 5 participants with some documenting 120+ hours of exercise a week. Huh?

    Getting healthy is a challenge, one must change parts of themselves and encouragement and support truly help. I have been the recipient and the giver. I love 1CrazyDog’s daily comments on my page … they always seem to be so timely to aspects of my life at the time. But I am a slug at returning the great support.

    As I have moved through dumping 100+ pounds … I have been overwhelmed by the support, well-wishers … and naysayers. Yep … I have had Sparkers … um, grouch at me coz I have made the necessary changes that changed my health which changed my weight.

    Um … we do get points for posting to Spark Team and Message Boards … the same total/limit as we get for posting to the Community Feed. I think Sparks has something to offer everyone.

    We get … what we give. Ramona … thank you for your personal support and all that you have given to Sparkers … and ME.

    840 days ago
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    I spend far too much time on SP. Sometimes it's difficult finding a blog that I want to comment on, and it bothers me when people just pop an emoticon into the comment box and say nothing more. True, one point per comment may not be enough of a reward for the time spent composing a decent comment.
    True, one gets the same reward for a "like" on the community posts. Stupid, really. And when you think about it, what do Spark Points get you? A virtual carrot?
    I do not "friend" everyone who comments on my blog (I write very few) as others do. Then again, I'm not on Face Book, and never plan to be. I have issues with seeing an interesting blog, only to click on the link and find it set to private. Why put it in the list at all?
    I would like to see inactive teams deleted, recipe videos and daily Spark videos updated. How many times can you watch a dog stare at a cupcake or watch Chef Meg assemble a beef and bleu sandwich? I was thankful when the more current articles no longer had pages and I could read to the end without clicking.
    Is there someone at SP who reads our rants and considers that we have some very good suggestions?
    840 days ago
    I agree and understand, I am only active on about 1/2 my teams and 2-3 more than the rest. We check in and I'm also friends with some on FB and have even managed to have face to face dinners with one lady. For those Spark members, they are special to me. and I so appreciate them checking in now and then.

    We all leave such busy lives, sometimes just connecting on a more personal level is just to much work in our busy lives. I do make it a point to check in on most days with my 6 teams and leave comments and encouragement.
    840 days ago
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    841 days ago
    You are right.... there are teams / members who offer that encouragement and motivation! Thankfully I found that on the Daisies 5% team and the BL Emerald Gems.

    Appreciate you!

    841 days ago
  • LINDA!
    I agree with you. I am a leader (and co-leader) of several teams. I have active teams and inactive teams. It is difficult to get some people to post or reply. It is frustrating because our need is to support one another. When nobody comments - it is just pathetic.

    I agree that I am not happy with the Community Feed. I have found that there are many supportive friends, in the last 10 years that I have belonged to Spark. I have seen so many changes. Some good and some bad. Some have commented that it is becoming too much like Facebook. This may be true. I will continue with Spark because there is so much information. I have learned so much with the articles I have read.
    841 days ago
    I agree the community feed is a wasteland. I am "new" since july so all the new things seemed neat, but it is sad to see that the shallow type of use the feed encourages. Kudos to you for taking the time to speak the truth!
    841 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    I agree with everything you've said here. I have friends here on spark who support me, and whom I wish to support. I also have limited spark time available (I try to limit myself to 10 minutes in the morning and another 10 in the evening, although I do go over sometimes) and using the tracking tools is time consuming. I really want to keep up with the friends I have, not be bombarded by "stuff" from strangers. When I make a connection with someone in a team, I "friend" them - but I like to keep my list relatively short. I try to make a point to read every blog each of my friends posts and that is what keeps me coming back. I don't want to sound harsh, but I just frankly don't care what a bunch of strangers are doing. All but one of my few teams are slow ones, but I feel like I know the active posters and can count them in that interesting category of internet friends.
    841 days ago
    I have not been actively engaged here for as long as many. I am also introverted and actively engaging here is difficult for me.

    As a team co-leader, I find it much more difficult to monitor team activity since we've lost the tab "What's New With My Teams". This tab was lost when the community feed was introduced. It seems to me that team activity dropped dramatically with the introduction of the community feed.

    Several times I've requested the restoration of that tab. I thought the return of the team bonus points might help with team activity. It does not appear to have helped.

    For me, the community feed has been a fracturing experience. It is another avenue of communication to be checked and it leaves me feeling overwhelmed ... community feed, friend feed, spark page, blogs, spark mail, spark goodies, team walls, team threads. It's become too much for me. I cannot keep up with it all.

    I have already withdrawn my membership from a number of teams and may withdraw from more. Other demands on my time often carry a higher priority than Spark People. So, participation here sometimes gets the short end of the stick.

    For me, I primarily use the site for the tracking tools because they support my ability to maintain my health and well-being. Blogging helps me think things out or document my experience. I have found reading the blogs of others to be incredibly helpful as well!

    841 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    841 days ago
    Some teams I am on are not very active, others are very active! I am a leader on some and do not worry about the lack of participation! I do like that some member are active and I am one my teams most days.

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    841 days ago
  • BERRY4
    I have to say I really see NO point in the Community "Feed". I'm actually aghast at what some people put out there! -- I don't need to see someone's lunch/dinner display. And the "start" pictures...aye yi yi! Guess I'm just not relevant to today's world?!

    At this point, the Paleo Lifestyles team is about one of 3 that I'm connected to that interacts regularly. I would LOVE to see credits for team interaction vs. Community Feed. Maybe people would check-in w/ teams??!

    And the person mentioning dropping inactive teams (& teams w/out leaders), teams w/ no interaction for a year or more; and other points of "housekeeping". -- If one tries to contact Sparks re. teams, it does not seem to be their priority at all. Some changes can be made. Others can't.

    ...and since we're "venting"... somehow we had random letters generating "members" of our local team (to the tune of 50+ NON-members). At least we were somewhat able to clean that up?!

    COMMITMENT to anything seems to be lacking everywhere! Maybe Spark People just reflects the larger "community"??!
    So sorry for your frustration! emoticon
    841 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    I don't like the community feed at all! Still love those teams I'm on and those where I"m a team leader and the message boards are great. Good support from those. Community feed seems pretty "light" so to speak.
    841 days ago
    Oh my goodnes, spark sister. TRUE TRUE TRUE. for me, I find the only way to get support is to participate and BE a support. As a leader, I too have noticed that there are many teams that just are not active, and it's not for lack of the learder trying! Well, I could name specific teams, but you know what we're trying to do for 2 teams.

    Making pages private . . . I just guess I never understood that as you cut your support off IMHO! I culdn't have gotten as far as I have gotten w/o the support I get here. Obviously I also have IRL support, but here in sparkland, participating sparkers UNDERSTAND!

    So I say, if you join a team please participate. Please check in. Be part of the team. It helps so much.

    HUGS and BRILLIANT blog.
    841 days ago
    I lived here in SP Land for about four years, when medical issues started happening and the stress of trying to take care of myself and do the things I did in SP Land, brought me down. I had several surgeries in a row and I finally told my teammates that I had to bow out in order to heal and get well.

    Fast forward because I came back to SP Land. I had hit my goal weight the first time living here, and I had great support from my teammates and a bunch of others, as well. But, medical issues got in the way and I was put in a wheelchair awaiting surgery to get me out of it. I gained 90 lbs. in one year and I cried out to God and asked Him what I should do. He told me to get on my Gazelle because I don't have to walk and to rejoin my SP Family, which I did. The team that I was the WL on took me back into the fold and it felt so good to be back home. I have lost a total of 25 lbs. in three months and I pray I will be able to get the rest off.

    I know how important it is to have people cheer you on, and I have always known that. I give kudos to each and every person that I come across. I have made great friendships because I am a cheerleader and a motivator. Now, when I left SP Land, I lost my Motivator Badge, but I don't need a badge to know that what I do really helps people stay the course or finally get it into gear because they have been wasting time. I have even gotten ladies to join from my Move Class at the VA Hospital. And from what I understand from reading Chris/Spark Guy's blogs, it appears that the federal government may be coming on board and that would be FANTASTIC to incorporate this with the Move Class.

    The Facilitator of my Move Class gets all of my exercise and nutrition logs each week that I have here in SP Land, and I report my weight to her daily, for more accountability. She also gets my inches, BMI, Body Fat, Muscle, Visceral Fat, my Steps and the Miles that I have logged too. I give out what others give me because somebody may learn from what I was taught by them and so I pass it on. I do not hold things close to the vest if they are helping others.

    Yes, when I looked around SP Land, it makes no sense that they put a limit on commenting on the blogs or on the message boards in our teams. Isn't that what we are supposed to be doing is helping one another? How can we do that through the Community Feed? It makes no sense and I pray with the changes that Chris/Spark Guy keeps doing with make SP Land a household name, that things inside our Land will change for the better.

    Thank you for bringing this into the light!


    - Nancy Jean -
    841 days ago
    A MILLION UPVOTES. I have one thread on one team that I stay connected to, along with about a dozen bloggers that I like to follow. That fits my time limit and about the extent of my involvement, but I could be doing that better. I've also seen several postings on the community feed where people aren't finding the support they need, and I try to tell them, "Find the teams on the full site!" The teams and the bloggers: that's where the support is. The Community Feed seems to be just another popularity contest, and I try to stay away from it.

    I wish there was an algorithm that disabled a team after so many months of inactivity, and also one that would remove members from a team if that member had been inactive for so many months... Or years, if need be. Just some general housekeeping.

    But for my part... I try to blog, I try to read and respond to other blogs, and I am looking forward to fall!
    841 days ago
    I can speak to some of your points, others I wasn't aware. I rejoined Sparkpeople back in October 2016 and was instantly welcome and questions answered. The genuine kindness and concern of others motivated me to give back to others.
    841 days ago
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