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I’ve never been a heavy Facebook user — I’ve had an account for a very long time but I mainly used it to share posts from CN and to “friend” people who request that I friend them. Over the years I’ve changed my personal settings to be able to see the different types of ads that are displayed. Up until this month I’ve never had a profile picture and have appeared as women and men of all different ages.
Whenever I take a look at the main feed on Facebook, it’s mostly content imported from Twitter. I’ve written about this before and wish that Facebook allowed you to turn off certain sites from displaying in your feed (e.g Twitter, pinterest, etc.).
(As an aside, I have noticed that techies seem to like and share content a LOT less than people in other demographics.)
So why I am using Facebook more often than I ever have? Simple, the people that I am now interested in following and interacting with are on Facebook and don’t use the other networks, Twitter and Google+, as often or at all.
Some of you know that I am working on my health in a big way and I have been studying and researching all sorts of health and fitness topics across the web and in print. Most of the people and brands I want to interact with have popular Facebook pages. For example, my nutritionist has a very popular Facebook page and she does a good job of interacting with the people who like and comment on her content.
Whether I am looking to interact with people around a Vitamix blender, a Breville juicer or why candida is bad for you, there are pages on Facebook with people who are willing to reply and provide feedback when needed. What’s great is that unlike Twitter where you just talk to talk, on Facebook you expect to have a conversation.
The only area I’ve noticed so far that needs serious work is the search function and specifically with regards to Facebook Groups. Here is a sample of the search results for the term “fitness” – notice that every single result is exactly the same – and it is like this on every page of the results. I want to join groups but where do I even begin when every single one looks identical?!? Groups search should function in a similar fashion to how Meetup.com works.
If I was in a management position at Facebook, I would certainly be asking why we haven’t created a YouTube competitor. So many of the health brands have tons of videos and they all live on YouTube yet the brand uses Facebook to promote their messaging.
It will be interesting to see if Google+ can draw more normals (both people and brands) into their network. I haven’t seen the health and fitness brands pushing their G+ pages (if they even have them).
We initially covered Fitbit when they provided a look at their technology last month. The Fitbit Tracker looks like a large paperclip and tracks a variety of physical activities as you move around with the device attached to your clothing. Today the company is announcing they have raised $2 million in venture capital funding.
Fitbit notes that True Ventures led the funding round with additional investment by Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech VC and a group of angel investors. As part of the funding round, Jon Callaghan from True Ventures joined Fitbit’s board of directors. Fitbit previously raised $425,000 in angel funding.
The company plans to use the funding to push towards a launch in early 2009. The Fitbit Tracker will retail for $99 and you can pre-order one now. I wish they made it work with wifi; currently you are required to go "home" with the device for it to update itself. Otherwise it’s a device I would be interested in because it could just open my eyes to exactly what I am doing wrong. Maybe they could offer a 2.0 version that includes a stunner – eat the donut, get zapped, walk too few steps, get zapped. I’d also like to see them partner with other fitness services including Traineo so that data can be exported to the customer’s fitness site of choice.
Here’s what the Fitbit device looks like:
iTrainHarder is a pretty robust site in the areas of nutrition/fitness tracking and planning. The site iTrainHarder defines themselves as:
iTrainHarder is an online nutrition and fitness tracking and planning system that allows you to see your results as well as plan for new ones. Our software will allow you to track your progress using the most advanced web tools available for personal fitness.
When I decided to add iTrainHarder to the Web Apps Fat-Off, I spent some time with the tool. Overall I think it really has a great depth to it.
One of the best parts of iTrainHarder is that every feature has a tutorial video. I am sure that these videos took a bit of time to create and they are well worth it. The site is very robust in its technology. Everything seems to have a good feel to it, the usability is high. I would say that if they put some more “feminine” touches on the design, that would help the overall design a lot. I am not saying the site should be only for women, but right now the design feels a bit “rough.”
One note – there is no community on the iTrainHarder site. If you are looking for that, you will need to look elsewhere. For me, I am not sure this matters. My workouts are my own.
The site has 5 major components:
- Nutrition – You can create your meal plans and enter the foods you ate for the day. They have thousands of foods. For me, food is my weakness and being able to see what I ate and how good or bad the makeup of the food is really helps motivate me. I am not sure how the shopping list generator works – need to check with the staff to find out.
- Training – Just like the Nutrition section, you can add your exercises, both cardio and muscle, to your plan. Again, the site has hundreds of exercises which allows for easy addition. And everything works with the weight you set so that the right calories burned show up. I know many sites that don’t do this and when you are heavy you burn more than a normal weight person.
- Measurements – Track your weight and body measurements such as:
- Blog – Keep a blog of your workouts and nutrition and technically you can write about whatever you want. What I like about this is that it is right there so as I post my nutrition and workouts, I can easily post my thoughts for the day. I can allow comments from registered members and I can keep the post private.
- Personal Trainer – I really like this feature. I used to have a trainer and she kept all of her records on paper and there was no tie into online. This way, she/he can see what I am eating, what I am doing in terms of workout, my blog, etc. which will help the trainer to provide a better workout the next time. And keep better track of what I am doing when I am away from them.
Couple areas for improvement:
- Explain the pricing – “as low as” – what does the pricing look like?
- Make the design more relaxed with colors that make people feel more relaxed
- Add some line height to the text – there is tons of (good) text on the site but it is a little hard to read with the lines being so tight
Screenshots – click to enlarge
I think iTrainHarder really is an excellent comprehensive tool. I think it is worth the $3.75/month. Especially if you have a fitness trainer because it really rounds out what they do with you. If they could work on some of my suggestions above, then I think they could have a very powerful market leader with iTrainHarder. As with most of the other sites, having some backing from a doctor, nutritionist and fitness trainer will help add credibility and “certification” to iTrainHarder. iTrainHarder offers a free week trial. I suggest you give it a try when you are ready to manage your weight and fitness routine.