Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media extensions for simple mobile devices

Foster, Derek and Linehan, Conor and Lawson, Shaun (2010) Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media extensions for simple mobile devices. In: Workshop on Nudge & Influence Through Mobile Devices, September 7-10, Lisbon, Portugal.

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Motivating physical activity at work: using persuasive social media extensions for simple mobile devices
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Abstract

Powerful behaviour change programmes can be developed through a combination of very simple, accessible technology, and an understanding of the psychological processes that drive behaviour change. We present a study in which very basic digital pedometers were used to record the number of steps taken by participants over the course of a normal working day. A Facebook application, named Step Matron, was utilised to provide a social and competitive context for pedometer readings. We were particularly interested in 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)
Additional Information:Powerful behaviour change programmes can be developed through a combination of very simple, accessible technology, and an understanding of the psychological processes that drive behaviour change. We present a study in which very basic digital pedometers were used to record the number of steps taken by participants over the course of a normal working day. A Facebook application, named Step Matron, was utilised to provide a social and competitive context for pedometer readings. We were particularly interested in 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
Keywords:Persuasive Technologies, 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:3153
Deposited By: Derek Foster
Deposited On:03 Aug 2010 15:31
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:44

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