The influence of social media on people’s physical activity behavior

Peer pressure is a well known phenomenon. Nowadays social media is everywhere and it is still on the rise. This results in more interaction between people all over the world. With all these interactions, people see how other people live, how they look like, how they behave,… Social media makes the world visible for everyone. The phrase: „Monkey sees, monkey does” says it all. People are tended to be influenced by other people.

In the paper that is referenced at the bottom a study was applied to investigate the impact of online social networks as means to motivate people to become more physically active. The result of the study was that people who participated in an online community had a much higher physical activity level. The number of contacts or friends people had in an online social network was not relevant to the level of activity. But the thing that was important, was the activity level of the friends. People who had friends with a high activity level, were more active than people who had friends with a low activity level. So according to this paper we can conclude that there is such thing as peer pressure in social media and people are influenced by others in the case of physical activity.

I think the results of the paper are realistic and that peer pressure is everywhere on social media. If you see your friends in great shape and they are very active, they might motivate you to also do some physical activities. Or at least, it might get you thinking about doing something yourself. It’s because you see what other people do or can achieve, you start thinking that maybe you can do it yourself. This influence, if it is not extreme, is a good way to keep being motivated to achieve some goals.

Reference:

Groenewegen, M., Stoyanov, D., Deichmann, D., van Halteren, A., 2012, Connecting with Active People Matters: The Influence of an Online Community on Physical Activity Behavior, Social Informatics, Vol.7710, p. 96-109

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2 thoughts on “The influence of social media on people’s physical activity behavior

  1. I agree partially with this paper. People use the social media to show what they have, to make them feel better. Bu I don’t think that you see this phenomenon only on social media. It is everywhere in our society. So I think that they made a false statement by saying that the peer pressure rises thanks to the social media.

    • Peer pressure is indeed not only a phenomenon on social media, it’s also present in non-technologic situation like drinking with friends, buying clothes to be cool,… So you are right that it’s everywhere in our society. However I think that social media increases peer pressure a little bit more, even if it’s like 1%. Social media brings you closer to your friends, let you see what they do and how they live (even if people only show to good things of their lives). Peer pressure can only happen in a group of people and I think that’s what social media is all about. Creating groups of people that relate to each other by even the smallest things. This creation of groups (even if they are virtual) leads to more and more people that influence each other, so therefore I think social media has a little addition to concepts like peer pressure, inspiration and influence.

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