Facebook Timeline Apps: When it Comes to Health, it’s Fitness – For Now

Facebook’s quest on engagement and centering around activity and less around status updates from pages could mean that the power of apps that plug into the Timeline will be huge to actually getting people to do something. Last week’s announcement about Facebook’s new apps is important to keep an eye on based on who decides to get involved.

For me, I always look immediately to the health categories, and a very common trend among social media is present already. Flip through the categories and you’ll see the common denominator of news, music or other fun things to share (Food or Pinterest-like apps focused on Fashion and Shopping). I guess you could classify some of the food apps in the health category, but that’s stretching it.

What we do have, though, is the most social of the health category: fitness. Two competing apps (RunKeeper and MapMyFitness) are there to help you track fitness activities, connecting them with your friends and publishing them to your wall. Sociologically it all makes sense – those are things that you may share to show off an accomplishment or strive for moral support to hit a fitness goal. I’ve argued the social/peer pressure argument a lot in this context, and it certainly fits. They are also both solid apps (although I’ll admit I skew toward RunKeeper since it is Boston-based).

How do you take the other aspects of health beyond wellness and plug them into the timeline app feature? If apps are going to have a big impact on the Timeline and what appears in news feeds, getting involved in that avenue will be a clutch method of engagement. My gut is that the trajectory will next involve more social awareness/fundraising applications (Causes is also currently already a Timeline app), and turning that into health outlets for more public issues such as obesity or cancer research. Part of me wonders, though, what aspects of certain chronic conditions are (a) possible to track and (b) public enough that people actually would.

This one is definitely to be continued.


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