Social Community of Competitors – How Public Relations is adapting to the digital media landscape

Taking social media to a different level, Strava app snow sitting inline with other social networking apps with a competitive edge, literally!

Strava is a social media app mainly known to amateur athletes (and even some pro’s) as a platform that turns lonely hours of training into a virtual racetrack to compete against yourself and a whole community of athletes. It would be a struggle to find a hill, long stretch of road or trail that is left without a segment to dominate as its King or Queen.

Athletes track and upload their rides and runs via iPhone, android or dedicated GPS device such as Garmin’s, to then analyse and quantify their performance, or keep track of other athletes. Once uploaded athletes can appear on leader boards and beat their own personal records on particular segments, encouraging competitiveness amongst riders and against themselves.

The app has now become even more social, not only can you view a persons route in detail (even down to their heart rate), but you can comment and give them kudos for support. Strava has integrated itself well within the social media community, Twitter is used to share Strava rides/runs by athletes, and the Strava Twitter account then retweets activities with inspiring images, usually linked to Facebook or Instagram. Strava also uses Facebook to promote its Strava challenges and features which athletes can take part in, winning badges for completion which appear on their Strava profile.

Every time an athlete beats your time if you hold a ‘KOM/QOM’ (King/Queen of mountain), an email is sent to notify you that you have lost your title, forever encouraging athletes to connect and compete.

The digital media landscape is evolving in a way that can include even the most anti-social and digital of activities like training for endurance sports. In a recent blog post by Jessica Lawlor (http://jessicalawlor.com), one of her 5 PR and social media trends for this year is simply ‘ to be useful ‘. This is a great example of why Strava holds a deserved position within digital media. It provides a service that has adapted within an evolving landscape offering something different that communicates with a public, offering a social network with a specifically targeted purpose.

I came across a recent blog post about the top 10 digital trends for this year ( http://www.prmoment.com/2462/top-ten-digital-trends-in-2014.aspx ) and first on the list was ‘Niche Social Networks’, the first example being Strava. Organisations need to examine relevant industry specific networks in order to stay successful.

The social media site is connecting a community of athletes all over the world, I personally have used to social media site as a route finder when abroad, I have met up with virtual friends which have turned into consistent training partners, and I rely on it to keep track of my best efforts and locate room for improvements. 

Follow me on Strava here :        http://www.strava.com/athletes/597092

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