The last thing I need is another social media platform. This was the place I was coming from when I stumbled upon Active Side. (StumbleUpon reference was a total accident, but I'm leaving it.) In short, Active Side is Twitter/Facebook/Instagram all mashed up and aimed squarely at active people. I've been messing around with it for only a few days, but...I like it!
- I can finally stop bugging people. I try not to inundate my social media platforms with endless posts about my work outs and practice and such. I have a group of friends (IRL and SM) who want to talk fitness, skating, sports. And I have a group of friends who couldn't give two shits that I passed my Rhythm Blues test or that I'm freezing my ass off in Rink Three while the Kid practices. Some folks want to commiserate over the pain of TriggerPoint, others want to open a vein every time they see an "I worked out" post. This is totally fair! And Active Side solves the problem - want to talk about fitness or your sport? Do it here!
- It's not just gym rats. Posts on Active Side center on activity, but they've done a pretty good job of defining activity broadly without diluting its meaning. Users choose activities that they do, everything from baseball to yoga to dog walking to hang-gliding, and post status updates, pictures, etc. around those topics. Currently, I'm playing around with ice skating, ice hockey and working out. People can comment on posts or "cheer" for you. I'm seeing everything from power lifters to dancers to people new to exercise.
- It appears genuine. As a newbie, I'm still on-the-outside-looking-in, but the activity on the site seems genuine. No one's selling protein powders or pushing the latest dieting nonsense. And you don't have to report your calorie consumption...unless you want to. It feels like a group of people, at varying fitness and activity levels, coming together for motivation and fun. (Reminder, I'm new so I could be totally wrong about this.)
- Start following. And talking. I'm reminded of my early days on Twitter, when it was all fairly useless and boring. The more I followed people and started @replying, the more interesting and useful that platform became. I'm approaching Active Side in much the same way. I'm following a few people who seem "real" and appear to be folks I could have some fun with. I'm starting to put up a few posts here and there and commenting/cheering other people's posts. My goal is to keep it genuine. And I know building a community takes some time.
- It's okay to ignore people. Yes, there are folks using the site who are posting the look-how-sexy-I-am and the baby-you-want-my-biceps pics. Not your thing? No problem! There are plenty of folks on the site who are simply dedicated to their sport or fitness and want to create a supportive environment. Find them! (Of note: this is not to say that there's anything wrong with the baby-you-want-my-biceps people, it's just a matter of deciding what activity means to you and going in that direction. I happen to like my biceps, but that's not my particular focus.)
A personal invitation.
I'm going to continue to play around with Active Side. I think it could be a lot of fun to have a place to talk exclusively about fitness and playing sports. I have a lot of friends who are active - skaters, runners, weight lifters, yogis - and I'm going to encourage them to sign up. To me, Active Side has a distinct purpose and thus, potential value. I'd like to see where it goes.
Come join me?
- Yes, I was excited to use the word "yogis."
- I think social media can be tremendously valuable. I also think it can be an incredible time-suck. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest...I use them all with varying degrees of regularity and I have no problems stepping away from them to live real life. My social media life is fun, helpful and interesting and it is a complement to, not a distraction from, my real life. Most of the time, at least.