Social network for health

Here’s a great example of social media used by the healthcare industry, from MediaPost: Health insurance company Humana has developed some social media tools, including a Facebook application, to help customers keep their New Year fitness resolutions.

“One game, the ‘Freewheelin’ Cycle Challenge,’ is inspired by the company’s bike-sharing program. In the online game, users race against virtual opponents–such as a cheerleader or Marine drill sergeant–in a bicycle race. Energy and speed are gained by capturing nutritious snacks while running over junk food.

“The game is available at, a Web site set up in May by the health insurance company as a way to explore how to use games and technology to further messages of health. The game is being promoted through information and blogs on popular casual gaming sites, and can be emailed for maximum viral effect….

“The other application, available via Facebook, is called ‘The Battle of the Bulge.’ Through the social networking site, users answer a few questions and are assigned a virtual waistline. Through the Facebook network, other users can ‘fling fat’ at you, which would expand your waistline and lead to a possible online heart attack. Answering health-related questions correctly can shrink the size of the virtual waistline and enable you to throw fat at your friends.”

A Humana spokesperson said the application leveraged the competitive aspect of Facebook.