Fitbit: The Unexpected Social Network

Everywhere you turn, someone is wearing an activity tracker. Some are the standard matte-textured gummy bracelets, others are blinged out by Tory Burch and other third party accessory companies. Some activity trackers come to us from the Nike brand, or Jawbone, but overwhelmingly, Fitbit has taken over the step counting game.

Why has Fitbit grown so quickly relative to it’s competitors? It certainly didn’t have the same loyal brand following as Nike (at least initially), or the affordable price point of then-competitor Jawbone.

The Fitbit’s main differentiator was how powerfully it created a fitness movement, and how beautifully it brought people together.

Here’s more on Fitbit, the unexpected social network.

How Fitbit Changed the Walking Game

WalkingFitbit became an unexpected social network by first revolutionizing fitness down to one it’s most simple components: walking. Almost anyone is capable of this exercise, and it doesn’t require practice or training to master, like many exercises you’d perform at a gym or fitness studio.

Fitbit made fitness in it’s most simplest form accessible to everyone. By tracking how many steps people take, Fitbit made it easy for people to see if the choices they made were healthy both daily, and averaged out over time. This made it possible to make smart choices on a minute by minute basis, as people could adjust their routine if they weren’t close enough to the day’s step goal.

An easy to interpret user interface breaks down fitness goals even further, including active minutes, active hours of the day, total calories burned, and could even track sleep and water intake.

Of course, only some of these features are truly unique to Fitbit. How Fitbit really changed the walking game was by providing a peer-to-peer network that gave participants the opportunity to get competitive with each other.

The Online (and Offline) Fitbit Community

What makes Fitbit the best activity tracker ultimately has nothing to do with how it looks or functions, but how it brings people together. The device itself is a full-fledged member of the internet of things movement, which makes Fitbit an unexpected social network.

On a one-to-one basis, Fitbit users can add friends and message, cheer, or taunt them. These “reactions” options came about long before Facebook’s (though long after the notorious “poke” option), and are often used by members who are in friendly competition with each other.

Speaking of competition, Fitbit has a number of challenges to select from that allow users to invite up to 10 friends to take part in, including:

  • Goal Day (the goal is to achieve the highest percentage of their step goal)
  • Weekend Warrior (the goal is to get the most steps from Saturday – Sunday)
  • Daily Showdown (the goal is to get the most steps in a day)
  • Workweek Hustle (the goal is to get the most steps from Monday – Friday)

ShoesWhen participating in a challenge, participants are constantly reminded of their progress through push notifications, and are given the opportunity to cheer others on (no “taunt” button exists in challenges). There’s also a group chat where participants can compare notes, complain about forgetting to charge their tracker, or congratulate other members on a job well done.

The beauty of competition on Fitbit is that it’s all positive – even the jeers back and forth! Members cheer each other on if someone is having a bad day and are just as quick to sing each other’s praises when they get in a ridiculous amount of steps.

Fitbit’s unexpected social network bridges the gap between online and offline. Seeing a member of the Fitbit tribe in public makes it easy to connect with others, and serves as a point of similarity. It opens the dialog with another person about how they lead a healthy life. It’s also fun to talk about an individual’s experience with the device, and commiserate about when things don’t work so well (accidentally dunking the Fitbit device in water, forgetting to charge it, etc.).

Why Fitbit is Such a Revolutionary Product

The best part of the unexpected social network of Fitbit?

It got people more interested in exercise. Using Fitbit tied in with your community, suddenly made exercise of any type is more exciting – not a chore! It changed your perspective so that going to the gym means you might be able to beat your boss in a challenge. Fitbit also got people to take a long walk instead of hopping on the bus for a short ride. Obviously, all of these small changes add up, and you can track your progress the entire way.

Walking is the new fitness revolution.