HealthyShare brings gaming to Facebook with celebrity challenges and friend participation rewards. The free app leverages users' social graph in order to encourage lifestyle change for long-term improvement, based on users' social graph.
Social networks are great, if not best, at spreading a message, and now that health and wellness startups are starting to proliferate, that trend is taking hold in the social Web. With the 2012 Olympic Games in the near future, GE’s Facebook app HealthyShare is built on the idea that consumers’ best asset for staying healthy is their friend network. The app provides Olympic Games-themed challenges that users can sign up for, selecting an athlete or goal that they prefer, and earn points by sharing progress, liking others’ progress or friends liking theirs. Whole Web sites or apps have been built on this community-based health initiative concept, such as Avivia’s gamified corporate health improvement tool Yonder.
Daily challenges aim to boost long term health
But HealthyShare is free and anyone can opt into the service on Facebook. The app appeals to fans of athlete celebrities and healthy hopefuls in general, plus it takes advantage of the viral potential that progress status posts can win in friends’ news feed. Challenges are inspired by the specific sport of whom they are named after - the Michael Johnson challenge involves “skipping, jumping, leg lifts, and, of course, running,” while the Summer Sanders’s routine includes cardio and plenty of swimming. But the app doesn’t expect people to be training for competition - the focus is simply about improvement from whatever starting point the user is at.
Social graph creates potential for sustained engagement with friend rewards
Users can also choose more general challenges, such as the Eat Healthier Challenge and the Get Moving Challenge, for suggestions on creating a long term routine. That is where the app takes advantage of the social graph - people are effective at beginning an improvement, but find it much more difficult to keep this change intact. With HealthyShare, progress gets logged and daily challenges are tallied up, and users are rewarded for progress, as well as for their friends’ participation. This type of collaborative improvement is more sustainable and effective. Whether the effectiveness is due to comradery or competition - as HealthyShare says, “friends are good for your health.”