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New tools for dieting with friends

We've had the ability to make "Friends" on the site for a while now, but admittedly, there hasn't been much behind it.  Friends could comment on each other's profile, and that's about it.  But we've always believed that if we could provide a really compelling experience for friends dieting together, the site would be much more effective at helping you lose weight. Having the support of your friends and family can make all the difference when you are doing something as difficult as making a permanent lifestyle change.

So last night, we launched a new set of features that we hope will make it easier for friends and family to easily track each other's progress and support and motivate one another.  Your My Home page now includes a News Feed which shows activity from your MyFitnessPal friends.  If you become Friends with someone on MyFitnessPal, your News Feed will show:

  • when they've lost weight so you can congratulate them!
  • blog posts and message board topics they've posted so you can share your thoughts
  • if they haven't logged onto the site in a while so you can motivate them to stay on track
  • any status updates they want to share
  • when they've "Completed their day"

PRIVACY

As we were building the new features, one of our main concerns was privacy.  So all of your activity is visible ONLY by your MyFitnessPal friends.  If you are not friends with someone on the site, they will not be able to see your recent activity on your profile, and your updates will not appear in their news feed.  The only small exception is that, if a friend comments on someone's status, you'll be able to see that one status item only, even if you are not friends with them.  But the rest of their activity will remain private.

The idea is that your activity will only be shared with the people that you trust and want to support you.   If you don't want someone to see your activity, just remove them from your friends list, or don't add them in the first place - it's that easy.

FOCUSED ON POSITIVE NEWS

We also wanted to make sure that the main focus of the News Feed was on sharing successes, not failures.  So, for example, if you Complete Your Day and you are under your net calorie goal, we'll share that in your activity feed.  But if you are over, nothing will appear at all.  Activity updates will also be displayed if you lose weight - but if you gain weight, nothing will be shared, even with your friends.  We didn't want people to worry about becoming friends with someone on the site and feeling "ashamed" if something negative got shared in their feed.  Becoming friends with someone on the site should only be a positive experience.

We did make one exception to that rule: if you haven't logged onto the site for a while, we'll send an update out to your friends letting them know that you might need encouragement.  Study after study has shown that continuing to keep a food diary is extremely effective at losing weight, and we strongly believe that if you track your meals and exercise on MyFitnessPal for long enough, you'll eventually reach your goals.  So we felt it was important enough to help people stay on track that we should let their friends know when they might have fallen off the wagon.

MORE TO COME

We'll be watching to see how people are using the News Feed and, going forward, we'll definitely be fine-tuning it to make sure the right amount, and the right type of information is flowing through it. 

So please, let us know what you think!  As always, we love to hear your feedback.

Thanks, and hope you are all enjoying the site.

Mike & Al

 

121 votes + -

39 comments:

Anonymous wrote 52 months ago:
Hi guys....it's an excellent site...and now the friends thing is alwsome....sometimes we get off track and get lazy....so when we see this happening we can motivate to get them back up and going....we all know ...to lost the weight you have to keep motivated....thanks guys....keep up the fabulous work....chow for now.;..Tracie:)
PJilly wrote 52 months ago:
Love all the improvements. Thank you for caring enough to keep making this better and better every day, even though it was already fabulous!
HonestOmnivore wrote 52 months ago:
I really love the changes! I believe that the community on this site is every bit as important to my success and counting my calories. THANKS!
laughingfox wrote 52 months ago:
Just wanted to let you know -- THIS. IS. AWESOME. Great job, great changes, great vision! MFP has become one of the essentials -- right up there with breathing, eating, and sleeping. :]
BetterVersion wrote 52 months ago:
Amazing additions/changes! Thanks so much! :)
slightingscale wrote 52 months ago:
I just hope that the publicity doesn't encourage people to not eat their calories for the day, or not post their true calories.
Plus, I kinda feel like I'm a creeper, reading everything that my friends are posting, but not wanting to un-friend them. Anybody else feel that way?
PureAndHealthy wrote 52 months ago:
Nah, we're all used to being creepers from facebook. :)
fitterpam wrote 52 months ago:
Love the changes - I just invited a bunch of people to the site so we can track each other and motivate each other that way!!! This is an excellent site but I couldn't justify asking others to join since we'd still be going solo!!
KareyCox wrote 52 months ago:
Can you search for a friend?
shinybonnie wrote 52 months ago:
I'd really rather it didn't announce on the news feed if I've lost weight or come in under my calories. I weigh myself daily (I know - not recommended) to keep myself on track. And of course, its not at all unusual to go up a pound one day, down the next. I don't want the people on my friends list thinking, "Holy cow, what is she doing? and she is always under her calories, she must be starving herself."
Georg wrote 52 months ago:
I agree with shinybonnie about announcing weight & food diary stuff.
What about those friends who haven't been active members for many months? I'm not getting reminders about them...are they getting all kinds of announcements about their friends?
mswing7674 wrote 52 months ago:
I think this site is great, however i can understand where the last couple of people are coming from and maybe you can make it a personal setting whether or not you wanna share those kinds of things! I personally don't mind and the more people that know how i'm doing the more on track i stay!!!
epoeraven wrote 52 months ago:
Is there a way to shut it off if you would rather not use it? I don't really even care to see my items.
teridene wrote 52 months ago:
I like all the changes! This is great. You guys are doing a fantastic job. Thank you!
carterk1 wrote 52 months ago:
Great changes!! Love it! Will this phone app work on Blackberries??
sssrip wrote 52 months ago:
Any ability to share meals. As a couple who are both using the program we would love to only have to enter a meal once. Would also work for co-workers and friends that are dieting together.
Thanks.
lonewolf707 wrote 52 months ago:
This app is awesome! I am a fitness trainer that runs boot camps and am suggesting all of my clients register for your app.

I don't know if you would consider this but as a coach I think it would be incredible if I could monitor the check-ins and progress more closely even if the information was less than ideal. This would allow me to monitor the group easily and help get those that have fallen off track back on with a friendly phone call. Maybe along with the friends you could have a coach option?

Also...the shared recipes would be a godsend as I could offer our clients a menu that they can choose from and have it all available to log at the click of a button.
txmom51 wrote 52 months ago:
I like the idea of encourageing people, this really sounds like a good addition. It always helps to have some on you know will be happy when you lose weight or reach a goal. I haven't been able to find people who want to lose weight except in words.Have a great day and week!
mvssysprog wrote 52 months ago:
Your statement "So all of your activity is visible ONLY by your MyFitnessPal friends." is not exactly correct. This statement does not hold for the blogs. I wish it did. I'd like to be able to blog but only have my friends see it. Wonderful site!! THANK YOU for setting this up!
stevenwcronin wrote 52 months ago:
Definitely a great idea and addition. The next logical thing to add is the ability to quickly add a friends recipe, if you are eating with them, or sharing dieting ideas. right now you can't do that, you can only view it, would be awesome to be able to click and add a friends food, or meal that you are observing. This is also useful for when families are using your site to diet together and be a supporting team/ structure for each other. What does everyone think of this idea??

steve
flbeachbuddy wrote 52 months ago:
I like the information, but would like to be able to limit it - like eliminating the postings unless they were to my blog (those should come up anyway, right?

Also, how do I join a group. I saw the Teacher's group and there was an option to join the group, or so I thought.

And THANKS again, both of you, for the site. I am very interested in your motivation for doing so. It has already helped me and I only joined recently.
vykkio wrote 52 months ago:
I LOVE this site! It is the best calorie tracking website I have seen and the iPhone app makes it that much better. Improvements I would like to see: To be able to search for friends by name. Unless I know someone's user name or email address, it is impossible to find them. More privacy settings would be good as well. However, even if it never changes, I am delighted with it as it is!!!! Thank you so much!
Anonymous wrote 52 months ago:
I am pregnant and I am using this app on my phone to help monitor my weight gain throughout my pregnacy. However, there isn't an actual option to select "pregnant" as a reason for weight gain goals. Is there a way to use this app specifically for a healthy pregnacy?
kenziebug wrote 52 months ago:
Hey! New here and love the feel of this website. I tried fitday.com and another. This seems so much more user friendly!! Wondering though...so you have in the works at all a place to track body measurments? That would be awesome! Sometimes you see results in measurements...pounds can be deceiving or depressing if you are gaining muscle mass?
kenziebug wrote 52 months ago:
Ummm...yeah...found the place to put measurements...oops ;o)
ddpowell wrote 52 months ago:
This is a great website. I have tried some others, even some pay websites, but I have not experienced one that was easier to use or more motivating than this one. I just need to find some friends. :(
phillip83 wrote 52 months ago:
I wish I could send a meal to someone else.
Manikchia wrote 52 months ago:
My friend and I would like the ability to see each other's food/exercise logs. It would also be great to have the food database for the iphone/ipod app available offline, so diet can be logged anywhere!
dragonfly81 wrote 52 months ago:
I like the changes! My only complaint is that I would like to have my comments section back on my profile. When my friends leave me comments, they get all jumbled up with daily activities and stats and I end up missing the comments.

Thanks for the great site, guys :) Overall, this place is near perfect!
flbeachbuddy wrote 52 months ago:
I would like the ability to turn on/off my friends' postings. Notes to each other can get lost.

Overall, it is a good thing, my friend followed up with me when I had not been on the site.

Thanks!
byukatie wrote 52 months ago:
I just found MFP at the beginning of January, but I love your site and especially love the friends news feed. So nice to share daily victories with my friends and family. Thank you for making a great site to motivate me to get and stay healthy!
Margoose38 wrote 52 months ago:
FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!! We love it and sharing our food journals with our friends helps us think of stuff to eat that we hadn't thought of before!! MFP ROCKS!!!!!!!
Thanks!!!!!!
ifeelgreat wrote 52 months ago:
This app keeps me honest and motivated, I am telling all my firends to join so we can keep each other motivated. It's like a facebook for people getting healthy! I LOVE it. Thanks!
doob wrote 51 months ago:
I'd like the ability to customize the feed please!

I'd like to keep things like friends losing weight, or logging/not logging in for 5 days in a row.

Things I don't care to see:

*I commented on someone else's status. Yes I know I did
*Other friends commented on other friends statuses. Not my business!
*so and so is friends with so and so, and the reverse! I am friends with this person, and then this person is friends with me! Redundant!


Keep up the great work!
urban479 wrote 51 months ago:
Any chance we could get an app for blackberry users?!?!
allysonmcginnis wrote 51 months ago:
I love this site! But, I had the same question...planning for a Blackberry App anytime soon?
malissaszwiec wrote 50 months ago:
Any plans for a Droid App?
cmssdl wrote 50 months ago:
I found this site soon after i inherited an iPhone when I was looking through the appstore - it looks great and free to use too - wonderful - thank you. I look forward to the iPhone app update that allows offline use.
Weste wrote 49 months ago:
Still need a Balckberry app. I can access the website and use my most common foods but cannot add new foods.

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