Medicine 2.0 (2012): Run-keeper Revolution

A great session at Medicine 2.0 was  Ted Vickey’s presentation, Fitness there is an App for That.
Vickey is a Penn State grad who worked in the White House under three presidents (Bush, Clinton, Bush) in the White House Athletic Center. He also is the author of 3 books on fitness. He recently emigrated to Ireland and enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Galway. He is studying the use of smartphone exercise tracking applications to see if online social networking increases exercise adherence and motivation.
He started his talk by describing the global obesity epidemic. He used the term, coined by the WHO, Globesity. His research uses the public tweets generated by 5 smartphone fitness applications:
  1. RunKeeper
  2. endomondo
  3. myfitnesspal
  4. DailyMile
  5. Nike+
He grabbed 2.8 million tweets using TwapperKeeper and then used a custom software program to analyzed them. From those tweets he grabs the following information:
  1. User ID
  2. Location
  3. # of followers
  4. # of Followings
  5. # of lists
  6. influence score (I think this is the Klout score)
  7. Klout type
  8. Fitness app
  9. Exercise typoe
  10. Exercise time
  11. Exercise trends (not sure what this is)
  12. Twitter Social Network
  13. Message
  14. Twitter Activity
  15. Language
He found that activity tapered off on the week-end. Cycling was the most popular activity on EndoMondo. Location based data is disappearing as privacy settings slide to less openness as the default. He was able to categorize the types of tweets including spam. His research isn’t done and he hasn’t yet been able to answer the fundamental question of whether social connections increase exercise. What he has shown is how vast and how rich the public data in Twitter can be.
Joel Topf, MD
eAJKD advisory board member

Check out all of eAJKD’s coverage of Medicine 2.0 here.

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