The last few months I noticed that a few of my favorite bloggers started dieting, e.g. Joi Ito and Jason Calacanis. I noticed because they decided to write about it, e.g. their goals, methods and results. What I found interesting is that it seems that they use their blog as a motivator to reach their goals by solliciting for feedback from their readers in the form of recommendations but also indirectly by publicly committing themselves to their plans and getting support through their blogs. Wouldn’t it be great for other people that don’t have a blog to be able to benefit from these methods? Think a user friendly integrated web service consisting of some form of diet tracking software, e.g. Joi Ito’s NutriBase, and forum environment where people can post their results if they want, maybe only with friends or under an alias because of privacy matters, and learn from each other? Sounds a bit like a “dieting social network”. Social networking as a function that is, not as a stand alone destination, as illustrated by Yme Bosma (Dutch only). Let’s use Marc Canter’s People Aggregator for that feature 🙂 BTW the number of people following diets is huge. I recently read an article that 1 in 5 people in the US and Europe have followed a diet in the last two years.



  1. One Dutch initiative that comes to mind when I read your post is offered by a Dutch daily (Algemeen Dagblad): AD Afslankservice. It’s a profile-based website that offer users a wide variety of structured ways of keeping track of the sort of food they eat, the amount of calories they take in, the amount of weight they loose (or gain), their activities, and offer the support of many other people. Especially the graphs seems to be quite motivating elements (even if it’s just by seeing others’ weight loss graph moving into the ‘right’ direction!). It’s impressive to see how open everyone is about their successes and ‘failures’. It’s a service only open to people who subscribe to it (free!) and people use aliases. The focus is more on individual dieting with the access to support, if wanted and it’s partly public.

    Publicly committing does happen a lot f.e. at the Dutch VIVA-forum, a forum linked to a women’s weekly. But without all the options like user-friendly graphics and tables though. Here you actually see people coming together committing to start the diet at a certain date & support together in a public way.

    I would like to take it a step further though…
    Why limit ourselves to offering people a web service focused on one subject/goal (in this case dieting)? Why not offer a social networking environment that facilitates people to come together, set goals and ‘work together’ on committing to & supporting each other in any mutual goal (offering tools to keep track of individual and group results and the option to publish the process publicly or keep it private, f.e.)? This way groups can form around an unlimited amount of goals, like finally starting and keeping up that sport schedule, or f.e. developing a more structured way of preparing for exams if you’re a student (I could have used that kind of “commit&support” system during University! ;-)), etc.

    Why, with the internet here for us to play with, are we still creating so many different services centered around specific subjects/content? The human diversity offers such a wide variety of interests that it could be far more interesting for the ‘suppliers’ to focus on the development of really innovative services in which that variety of interests can be facilitated. Personally I would like to find an online “commit&support” place that offers me the tools which facilitates me in trying to reach any of my goals by (publicly) committing to my plans and meeting like-minded (“like-goaled”, if you will) people to give and receive support.

    An online place like that might even lead to discovering interesting goals of others to aim for in life… Let’s inspire… Instead of creating the next ‘new’ online diet service ;-).

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