Apps that involve friends in behavior change
November 5, 2017 11:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of apps that support some kind of lifestyle/health/mental health behavior change (e.g., practicing mindfulness, exercising, quitting smoking) by involving a friend.

Ideally, the friend should be someone whom the user actually knows IRL and is able to connect with via the app- not just other users of the app who are strangers to the user. The role of the friend in supporting behavior change could really take any form (and I'm interested in creative uses of friends), including but not limited to accountability. I'm especially interested in examples where the friend is not also trying to change their behavior.

The app must be explicitly designed to connect with a friend who will support the behavior change. I'm not interested in ways people creatively use apps that aren't designed for this purpose.

Although I'm most interested in apps, other technologically-based behavior change programs that do this would also be helpful to hear about.
posted by deus ex machina to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're a bit of a nerd, check out HabitRPG. I learned about it on MetaFilter some years ago.
posted by jwhite1979 at 12:12 PM on November 5, 2017

Strava is one example that seems successful at promoting exercise. At a minimum, you turn it on when you do a run, walk, or bike ride, and when you're done, the app posts a little map and stats that all your friends (who also use the app) can see in their feed.

Friends can give you kudos by tapping a button, or leave comments which can turn into whole conversations about the event. Your route is divided into segments and you can win little awards for speed, as well as see how your friends did on those segments. You can also connect it to Facebook for wider reach. I've found that it reinforces the IRL relationships I have with other athletes, and certainly motivates me to bike more when I see what other people are doing.
posted by oxisos at 12:26 PM on November 5, 2017

"HabitShare is a social habit tracker app that allows you to track habits with friends for extra accountability."

(I found this by googling "accountability partner app". You might find more stuff using that phrase)
posted by ManInSuit at 2:40 PM on November 5, 2017

One of my former employers signed us up for EveryMove. You logged your activity (for points), and could send points to friends, see how what activities your friends had logged, etc.

You used to be able to trade in your points for things of value, but now I think they've pivoted so the points really don't matter and everyone wins because yay, exercise! Caveat: while I used it, it would also randomly suggest people for you to send points to. Your friends also have to actively use the site for you to know at all that they've seen your exercise, or lack thereof.

It doesn't fit your use case perfectly, but it's an option.
posted by batter_my_heart at 3:47 PM on November 5, 2017

There is a (Jewish?) internet porn filter that will alert an IRL friend when you access NSFW content. I will post back once I remember its name! (Clarification: the orthodox Jewish community tries to avoid internet porn, unsurprisingly.)
posted by 8603 at 4:42 PM on November 5, 2017

Maybe Superbetter?
posted by fleecy socks at 7:28 PM on November 5, 2017

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