Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media for competitive step counting

Foster, Derek and Linehan, Conor and Kirman, Ben and Lawson, Shaun and James, Gary (2010) Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media for competitive step counting. In: 14th MindTrek Conference, 6th-8th October, Tampere, Finland.

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Abstract

Previous research has suggested that social and competitive interaction over online social networking sites could be harnessed in order to motivate behaviour change in users. This paper presents the design and in-the-wild evaluation of StepMatron, a Facebook application designed to provide social and competitive context for daily pedometer readings in order to motivate physical activity in the working environment. A study was conducted in order to determine whether interactions between users via the application more successfully motivated physical activity than simply recording daily step counts in a similar application. Ten participants (1 male), all nurses working in a UK hospital, used the application across two conditions over the course of the study. In the socially-enabled condition, participants could view each other’s step data and make comparisons and comments. In the non-social condition, participants could only view their own personal step data. A significant increase in step activity was observed in the socially enabled condition. Our findings highlight the potential of social media as a means for generating positive behaviour change. They also suggest that simple mobile devices can function as an inexpensive, accessible and powerful trigger towards this behaviour change without necessitating the use of overly complex and expensive mobile applications or devices.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords:Persuasive technology, Lifestyle, Health, Mobile devices, Pedometers
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G400 Computer Science
G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
ID Code:2928
Deposited By: Derek Foster
Deposited On:03 Aug 2010 17:51
Last Modified:02 Sep 2014 09:08

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