React: Is Sharing New Year Fitspo on Social Braggy or Motivational? Topic Analysis

By Cara Sherratt on January 7th 2016

New year, new you?

Now that the last of the Christmas candy has been devoured, thousands of people are taking to Twitter to voice their need to get fit in 2016.

The proliferation of fitness apps, wearable technology and online communities has inspired a boom in data shared online about our exercise habits, and the beginning of 2016 has been no exception.

New Year health tweets

Posting our exercise preferences and progress online has been a driving force for a fiery ongoing debate, occasionally resulting in the stigmatization of avid fitness sharers.

Are you bragging or motivating when you share your latest running route online?

Is it showing off, or are you showing the way to your followers – some of whom will grab their running shoes while others will roll their eyes and keep scrolling?

Regardless, potential hate for bragging has not put off prolific fitness sharers and the trend looks to accelerate in 2016 – particularly as the Fitbit app climbed to number one in the App Store on Christmas Day.

Last year we tracked over 49,000 exercise related mentions over six months to examine the buzz surrounding different exercise types and who was talking about them.


Gym buffs take the lead

People aren’t shy when it comes to sharing fitness preferences on social, and talk of the gym generated a huge amount of mentions over the period we analyzed.

Fitness preferences 1

Meanwhile, when we look at sentiment-categorized mentions (indicated by the red and green segments), the gym has the lowest positive tweet count in relation to overall mentions.

In fact, dancing, team sports and walking all have a higher amount of positive mentions despite having less than half the amount of overall mentions compared to the gym.

Positive and negative mentions can indicate motivation – a scenic run or a fun dance session are clearly a bit hit online, but the lack of positivity surrounding the gym could suggest that users take to social media to seek motivation or voice their hesitance to take part.

Politicians don’t even lift, bro

Exercise related mentions broken down by profession can offer interesting insights into the willingness of different groups to share their preferences.

Professions exercise 1

You’re most likely to find those in creative industries and students sharing their fitness quips on social media, perhaps due their alternative work routines.

Professions certainly have their favorite forms of exercise, with Executives and Software and IT developers choosing to run rather than participate in team sports while Marketing, Sales and PR professionals love tweeting about their trip to the gym.


Female voices dominate online gym chat

Contrary to the muscled male ‘gym buff’ stereotype who likes to talk about their fitness progress, the gender divide graph tells a different story.

Women men exercise

This graph shows that females are the most prolific sharers on all forms of exercise except team sports, but with the majority of major league sports teams being comprised of male-only players this doesn’t come as a surprise.


Creatures of habit

While each individual has their own preferences, there are certainly some common themes in many social sharer’s exercise routines.

Weekdays exercise

Mentions of the gym peak on Sundays and Mondays, while Friday is a favorite for runners and team sports players.

Meanwhile, on Tuesdays you’re more likely to see walking or hiking clogging up your timeline than gym sharers who dominate the rest of the week.

If you find yourself reaching for the pizza menu rather than your gym bag on Tuesday, Friday or Saturday you’re not alone.


Social gets physical

The conversation surrounding exercise is global, and analyzing that conversation – particularly as we enter a new year where wearable fitness technology is expected to take off even further – will be an ongoing challenge for those looking to compete in the buzzing health and fitness market.

With fitness fanatics avidly forming communities, driving conversations and sharing their thoughts and motivations, this could be an exciting year for fitness on social.

Unless, like many, you’re sick of everyone bragging.


Follow @bw_react for more hot data stories.



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