Studying Physical Activity Using Social Media: An Analysis of the Added Value of RunKeeper Tweets
Peter Mechant and
Lieven De Marez
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Jeroen Stragier: Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Peter Mechant: iMinds, & Department of Communication Studies, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Lieven De Marez: iMinds, & Department of Communication Studies, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies (IJICST), 2013, vol. 3, issue 2, 16-28
Smartphones and mobile fitness applications or apps have brought a new experience to physical activities such as running, walking, and cycling. Increased sharing of these activities by users of social networking sites affords the collection of large physical activity datasets. This study assesses to what extent raw data from mobile fitness applications (MFAs) posted on Twitter can be used for studying physical activity and what added value they can provide. A total of 22,258 tweets collected over a nine-month period using RunKeeper mobile fitness app were analyzed. A quantitative analysis of the entire data set and a content analysis of a subset of 2,868 tweets were performed. The data from MFAs exchanged via Twitter provided rich information on various aspects of physical activity including timing and distance of runs, bicycle rides, and walks. Personal reflections shared by RunKeeper users contained additional details on how the activity was experienced. Although further research is needed to determine the representativeness and generalizability of such data, the results of this study may indicate an important direction for extending current methodological practices in physical activity research.
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:igg:jicst0:v:3:y:2013:i:2:p:16-28
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