Facebook has taken an interesting turn, gone the days where everyone was posting what they had for breakfast and sharing photos every second. These days it’s all about groups and being a part of a community. This has never appealed to me, until recently when I started following Fitness Groups such as Ashy Bines and BodyBoss Method; Women were transforming their lives in front of strangers, this was not appealing to me. In short, I didn’t see the value in putting myself out there in public forums as their way too much to lose such as public rejection, no one responding or let alone caring about what I had to say or even start bullying me.
But all that has changed…
While scrolling through the BodyBoss Facebook page, I saw a post from Amanda saying she was interested in forming a private group and taking on the BodyBoss Method. This got me excited as I was curious about Facebook groups and wanted to improve my fitness, so I said…
Several other women jumped on this thread wanting to join, the host Amanda invited me to the Body Boss Method Accountable group and so it began. The group consists of approx. twenty women from Australia to America, ranging in ages 18 to 30.
The “rules of engagement are simple” following the BodyBoss Method and share your progress to the group, comment and encourage one another with positive language and share any health products or services that are working for you; post updates on your progress and work towards completing the 12-week challenge.
I decided to share with the reason I joined this group was I won free tickets from The Great Day Out to run a half marathon at the Gold Coast Running Festival and how I’ve since been running about 1km three times a week. The girls were very supportive and excited for me, commenting what a great goal and achievement it will be if I complete the race. This sparked a feeling in me that I didn’t expect to get from an online group, I was generally motivated and excited to complete this 12-week challenge. This made me think about our online identities and how our online identity integrates with our offline identity and are these two worlds as different as people assume? Gray (2009, p. 70) says;
“online spaces are constructed and the activities that people do online are intimately interwoven with the construction of the offline world and the activities and structures in which we participate, whether we are using the Internet or not”.
Now surely, I wasn’t the only person thinking this, so I decided to reach out to Amanda and ask her a few questions about this idea;
Q: ‘Amanda how has your online identity changed since you started this group?’
A: ‘Well, I was quite carefree about how I interacted with people online. However, since this group, I’ve started to appreciate and feel responsible for the girl’s fitness goals and I take more time to consider how to respond and interact with everyone. This has had a flow-on effect in the real world, where I am mindful of how I treat myself and others’.
Q: ‘How have you formed and maintained these relationships online?’
A: I’ve found that being vulnerable and incredibly honest is the easiest way. There is enough hatred and lies in the online communities- it is nice to be able to put yourself out there for who you are and find similar individuals who you connect with. Maintaining these relationships is a lot easier when the relationships are built on an honest and open foundation’.
Q: ‘Has a past experience related in some way to your online identity?’
A: ‘I was bullied most of my childhood, so as an adult I’ve made it my mission to spread as much love as possible in all aspects of my love and found empowering to spread this message online/offline and via this community. We are all on this journey together, and beating ourselves (or others) emotionally does not get us any closer to our goals!’.
I’ve come to realise after chatting with Amanda that my offline identity is interwoven with my online identity by showing little snippets of my personality via the different platforms, such as; Twitter and Facebook. For example, when I use Twitter I tend to share my fitness achievements and interact with products such as Calm.
However, in the BodyBoss Accountability Facebook group, I decided to show a different side of me, a light-hearted humorous side.
Being a part of this BodyBoss Method Accountability Group has brought an enormous amount of positivity into my life and has taken my fitness levels to new heights. I finally understand the value of social media and just like in real life if you join a good community you get positive results and vice versa.
Life is about getting out of your comfort zone either online or offline and If I didn’t write those four little words ‘yep, count me in’ I would’ve missed out on meeting these wonderful women and discover another dimension of me.
All photos were taken by Ebbony Lawman unless specified otherwise.
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Gold Coast Running Festival. 2018. Gold Coast Running Festival. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gcrunningfestival.com.au/. [Accessed 23 April 2018].
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Twitter.com. 2018. Calm. [ONLINE] Available at: https://twitter.com/calm?lang=en. [Accessed 23 April 2018].
Yep, count me in – Wattpad Book Cover by Ebbony Lawman. 2018. Yep, count me in – Wattpad Book Cover by Ebbony Lawman. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.canva.com/design/DAC1umCOsVY/OluuFdcmS1a7CHZ_I8nv8A/view?utm_content=DAC1umCOsVY&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton. [Accessed 23 April 2018].