So, I like to run. For me it’s a hobby, just like cooking or reading or any other number of pastimes. Yet unlike my other hobbies, when I say I’m training for a race or enjoyed a long run, people always ask me why. This question is normally followed by a proclamation like “But it’s so boring!” or “You’re crazy!”
Note: I’ve never, not once, asked anyone why they like playing guitar or reading comics or anything else that brings them joy.
But, to actually answer the question: Sometimes, I lace up for exercise. Other days, the need to clear my head or bust stress gets me out the door. Sometimes, it’s to explore a new trail or enjoy perfect weather (even though that may feel like a distant memory during the throes of the polar vortex). Other times, it’s a social thing – the equivalent of a catch-up over coffee or drinks.
And it’s that last reason that prompted me to write my blog post for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. Which is another cool thing about running – you get to meet other amazing, incredibly healthy and dedicated people and occasionally cool opportunities come up, like being a TYS10K Digital Champion. It lets me be part of a cool and very supportive community – and I already can’t wait for race day.
Check out the TYS10K team here to find great advice for everyone from newbies to pros and tell me: Why do you run?
Or, if you don’t run, what’s your stress-busting hobby?
I recently gained a significant amount of weight.
Isn’t that just a horrible thing to admit? It was probably one of the least devastating side effects of a drop in my thyroid hormone levels. For months, I struggled with why I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Why, while changing nothing, I was packing on the pounds. For a chronic overachiever like me, having an under-performing thyroid feels incredibly frustrating.
Luckily, a tweak to my medications (which I’ve been using for three years) meant the waterworks stopped and I could stay awake. But, I’m my own worst critic, and those extra pounds have lingered as an affront to my vanity and a reminder that I can’t always control everything.
Always a pretty average gal – my size 7.5 shoes are amongst the first to sell out, and I don’t tower or disappear in a crowd – I’ve been looking at myself since last autumn with a pretty critical eye. Skipping certain wardrobe items. Feeling a little more self-conscious than usual.
And then, I read Lauren Fleshman’s piece in Runner’s World. She shares a rocking (post-baby!) shot of herself on a New York Fashion Week runway, then follows it up with a photo that she hates. Both shots are taken the same week, and she’s an elite athlete. Obviously, she’s still looking strong in both, but she does paint a great picture of the difference between the runway fantasy and the day-to-day reality. Even more interesting: it took two months (and six revisions) for her to feel brave enough to publish the post online.
Her post really struck me, because she owns it (even if it took a while to reach that point). She celebrates her body, and her strength. Which made me think: I can run a marathon. I can ice skate, swim, bike, kind of ski and even do two pullups. And I’m struggling to get dressed in the morning? What nonsense is that?
So, for Lauren, here’s a shot that I hate.
I’m on the beach in Nicaragua, at probably my heaviest point, and can point out at least 11 things I dislike, but you know what? Ultimately: I’m on a beach in Nicaragua, I’ve just gone surfing, I’m celebrating completing my first marathon, the sun is shining and, really, life is pretty good.
So, maybe it’s time to put a few frocks back in my rotation and start re-casting those negative self-assessment habits.
TL:DR. Clicked it for the headline. We put all kinds of disclaimers on our tweets, but just how much does what we’re sharing correspond to what we’re reading?
Turns out social shares don’t actually correspond to readership numbers. In You’re not going to read this on The Verge, Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, is quoted as saying, “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.” So, that means some people are reading and not sending it to friends, while others are blindly tweeting links without giving them any thought or context. Or, as summarized in the article:
To suddenly say that a story is just as likely to have been read by a million people and tweeted by none of them, as it is to have been tweeted a million times and yet never read, seems impossible. And yet, that’s what Chartbeat has found.
This may be because news stories see less engagement as people just look for updates or that people on social are more likely to be coming from a mobile device, which often translates to less time spent – but I still find it fascinating. You’d think that just by virtue of sharing a link, it would gain more traction that something that doesn’t get shared.
The key takeaway, though, is that social shares don’t directly correspond to high traffic – so we need to change the way we think about these metrics. Also worth further thought is that Upworthy targets engaged users instead of page views – the difference between someone forced to click through your photo gallery versus the person who reads the entire post and leaves a comment. Will these “attention minutes”, the total amount of time that people spend actively paying attention to the site, become the new goal?