– a System of Online Social Support for Change

Two friends of mine, Abe Crystal and Rick Cecil, are building to be an online system for helping groups of people to work together on desired changes. According to their research, many people make resolutions that fall by the wayside because they find it hard to persist on their own. With ruzuku (which means ‘support’ in Swahili), people can post status and receive comments and questions from others in their social network, helping them stay motivated.

This reminds me of the numbers I recently heard about membership attrition from fitness clubs.

  • From people who join individually, there is a 50% attrition rate. That means half the members fail to renew after one year.
  • From people who join as couples, the attrition rate is 26%.
  • From people who join as entire families, the attrition rate is 22%.
  • From people who join with inter-dependent exercise needs — for example, to play a sport together — the attrition rate is 6%.

Of course there are many reasons for attrition, but there does seem to be a strong element of social support that helps people continue with gym membership.

You might find useful if you are organizing a group to work together toward some goal — as a teacher, coach, team leader, or friend. You can set up a challenge and send the link to the people you want to participate. Once they join the challenge, they can then post updates about their own progress, see the updates posted by others in the group, add comments, and otherwise use social networking to stay motivated. I think ruzuku links to twitter already — with Facebook linkage on the way.

Resilience: Blooming in the Snow

As part of the beta, I created challenges around the four steps for building resilience that I described in an article for the Anita Borg Institute earlier this year. Each challenge was set up to last 5 days starting on Monday November 2, 9, 16, and 23. The first 3 are closed, but if you happen to be interested in trying out ruzuku, you could still join the one that will start on November 23 on taking inventory of personal assets.

If you read about this later and wish you’d had an opportunity to participate, let me know. I’m running it now as a way to help Rick Cecil and Abe Crystal with their beta. But perhaps we could try something similar in the future.

Image credit:
Signs of Spring courtesy of Reenie Just Reenie


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