Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
31 Mar

Building a Primal Community with Twitter

twittergrokI’m going to be frank. A quick look around at our general surroundings, whether it’s the flawed studies being parroted by the clueless media or your coworkers rolling their eyes because you didn’t eat the bun, confirms that we Primalists are a rare breed. Bouncing around between all the great blogs that actually get it makes for a bit of an echo chamber; fantastic information abounds, but we can easily forget how radical and extreme we seem to most people. I understand this, and I try to make the Primal Blueprint detailed enough for the nutrition buffs and accessible for the guy who maybe just wants to lose a few pounds. Scaring outsiders away might have been an effective tactic for Grok when resources and game were scarce, but we’re not about that here.

Still, I do this everyday because I truly want people’s lives to improve, and I think this is the quickest, most effective way to achieve that. I’m sure you guys have experienced the same thing I have – when you finally get the skeptic to let you explain the Primal Blueprint, they get it. What’s not to get? Anyone with a basic understanding of evolution and the willingness to give it a shot for a couple weeks can see the simple beauty and effectiveness of eating and living like our ancestors. I get emails almost every day from regular people without prior interest in nutrition who stumbled across this blog and ended up staying, but I still think we could do more to reach those out there who have no direct connection to Primal living – without compromising our unity or the complexity of our discussions (in fact, I think it will bolster both).

Reader madMUHHH posed an interesting suggestion last week, one that bears particular relevance to this issue:

“Maybe some of you guys are already doing it, but why not build up a little twitter-network, where everyone is posting what he ate today and what kind of workout he did. This way you could see what others are eating, get some inspiration, maybe share some cooking tips or suggest alternative ingredients. Stuff like that. Haven’t really used twitte runtil now, so I don’t know if it would really work the way I’m imagining it, but maybe we could just try that out. After all, sending a twitter message takes a few minutes and if enough people do it, you would probably get a lot of great recipe and workout ideas.

Basically we would be using technologies most recent advancement to go as primal as possible!”

I have a Twitter account, as I’ve mentioned in the past. As of now, I mostly just post recent updates to MDA, but I think with wider community involvement this could become a really powerful tool. I plan on posting more substantive things in the very near future – recent books or interesting links I’m reading, Tweets on my daily workouts and meals, book developments, MDA updates. But Twitter relies on user input. That’s the rub. It’s an incredibly simple tool with great potential, but it needs community support to make it worthwhile.

That’s where you come in.

follow mark on twitter

I need you guys. One of my favorite parts of running this site is receiving feedback from the readers. It shows me that I’m actually reaching people, and they’re actually gaining knowledge and improving their health. It goes both ways: I learn a lot, too. I learn what’s working for people. I learn how Primalists manage to make it work in completely different climates. I even learned how to make a killer Primal Pizza crust. I’m not sure if there are any good ways to create formal groups or forums through Twitter (anyway, the coming forum on the MDA relaunch site (!) should be good for that), but an informal coalition of Primal Tweets could be just as effective.

I think Twitter has great potential as a way to strengthen the community. As prolific as I and other bloggers try to be, we can only post quality content so often. Twitter allows – nay, forces – people to compartmentalize their thoughts and keep things short, succinct, and sweet. People on the go with smart phones can easily check Twitter for Primal updates, or update with their own observations or tips. Found a good local source for pasture-raised eggs? Tweet it (there might be locals reading). Just found the perfect balance of heat and cooking time to grill the perfect steak? Tweet the details and let the rest of us know how to do it. See, there’s no guarantee people will check the comments board or even read the blog every day, but keeping up with Twitter takes little effort – no more than it takes to read a sentence or two.

And as for attracting new people to the Primal fold, Twitter is an unobtrusive, indirect way to do it. When you start following my Tweets and start replying to them or posting your own Primal Tweets, everyone else who’s following you will also see them. If they’re interested, they’ll follow the thread and discover the entire network. If we have a strong enough community, with enough people updating their Tweets and following other Primal Twitter accounts, eventually we’ll begin to attract other people, people who otherwise would never have looked into the subject. That’s how Twitter works – by broadcasting each short message to anyone who’ll read it.

So how about it? Interested? If you’re a current Twitter user, follow me. Check out who I’m following and follow them, if you’re interested. Post your account in the comment section so we can all follow you, and vice versa. If you’re new to Twitter, check out the homepage, watch the video for a quick crash course, and join up for free. If we get enough people into this, we can have a veritably endless supply of constant daily Primal workouts, recipes, and nutrition links.

follow mark on twitter

UPDATE: I’ll be using the tag #primal for all of my tweets. I encourage you to do the same for anything related to Primal living (Primal eating strategy, health, nutrition, fitness etc.) This way our community can easy follow all tweets on this topic. Read fitnessmantra’s comment below for more info.

Further Reading:

Friend Me on Facebook, Too!

Primal Bloggers Around the Net

Interview by Rivendell Reader

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Looking forward to your Tweets.

    I can be followed at:
    http://www.twittersteer.com

    Adam Steer - Better Is Better wrote on March 31st, 2009
  2. Great idea! Feel free to follow me http://twitter.com/marklepper

    Mark wrote on March 31st, 2009
  3. I just wanted to write in and say “Thank You!!!”

    Just this morning, I stepped on the scale and saw 154.6, which is a number I’ve not seen since two babies ago. LOL.

    My starting weight was 186, after the birth of my third child. I was quite depressed to see that number, as I’d eaten lots of “Healthy Whole Grains” during that pregnancy, trying to be more health-conscious and responsible than during my first two pregnancies, wherein I had shamelessly scarfed fried eggs and bacon and cheese.

    But I ballooned up like I’d never done before! This was my first hint that something was seriously amiss.

    Managed to cut calories and get down to 165, then stalled out about six months postpartum.

    Hungry, exhausted and moody. No wonder you see so many fat moms out there.

    Merely reducing calories also reduced my energy level and worsened my moods, which was so much worse for my family than seeing me with an thirty extra pounds on.

    Ran across your blog, did a little experimenting, and have lost ten pounds in about two months. I feel better and more energetic than I did when I was a teenager, and there is still so much more room for improvement.

    So! I’m not really properly Primal yet, and couldn’t talk about the science behind it all if my life depended on it, but blogs like this do reach into some strange places.

    Thanks again!

    Mama B wrote on March 31st, 2009
  4. Congratulations, Mama B!

    I absolutely love to hear these fantastic success stories. Keep up the great work and if you have any questions feel free to drop me a line in the comment boards or via email.

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  5. hi mark,
    you mentioned: “I’m not sure if there are any good ways to create formal groups or forums through Twitter”
    the right way to do this so all conversations are linked well, is to use a common tag throughout. infact a new site launched recently called tinker promises to create groups based just on these tags.
    for example checkout: http://www.tinker.com/event/americanidol
    see those messages? they all have #americanidol (letter-case does not matter). then tinker will collect all these together and show it as a “group”.
    infact you don’t even need tinker.
    twitter itself has a great search feature and we can just search for a common tag, setup a feed for that and follow the conversation! i say “#pbp” – how about that? it’s short leaving room for the message and also does not confuse with another popular tag #primal for the rock group
    so everyone just put “#pbp” at the beginning or end of your tweets and we can get this community started!
    i just got the ball rolling: http://twitter.com/fitnessmantra
    and you can look for #primal through this link: http://twitter.com/search?q=%23pbp
    and grokers can get the feed here: http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=%23pbp

    hope that helps,
    -fitness mantra.

    Fitness Mantra wrote on March 31st, 2009
  6. Great idea, you can also use the search function for terms like Paleo to find like minded people: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=paleo

    Comaboy wrote on March 31st, 2009
  7. Yaaaayyy!!!

    My nickname on MDA, I’m famous now!
    Nah, just kidding. Still thank you for the post, Mark, this is exactly what I head in mind and I think it will work great to get things rolling.

    If anyone wants to follow me, here’s the link:
    http://twitter.com/madMUHHH
    Or just click on my nickname.

    And also: There’s a forum coming? Actually my first idea wasn’t the twitter thing, but a forum. But since it would require a lot of work on your side, Mark, I thought twitter would be the simpler solution. But you actually planned a forum already, that’s great!

    madMUHHH wrote on March 31st, 2009
  8. Already an MDA fan on FB…I had absolutly no interest in Twitter- till now! Will join today. Thanks!

    marci wrote on March 31st, 2009
  9. Huh? Where has my comment gone? Damn! I wrote quite a long comment and now it’s gone.

    So, here’s the short version of it:
    First of all, that’s great! I even got quoted! Everybody who wants to can join me via http://twitter.com/madMUHHH

    It’s also great to hear that there’s a forum coming. Actually my first idea was a forum before I thought of that twitter stuff, butI thought that twitter was just way easier. But now we’re gonna get both. Awesome!

    madMUHHH wrote on March 31st, 2009
  10. This weekend i signed up for a twitter account. I started setting up everything and started doing my profile and turning on my phone so i could update. Then it dawned on me “What are you doing?” between work, school, cooking, my blog, house projects and everything else going on… I have a hard time keeping up with everything as it is. I thought back to my life lesson of simplicity is happiness… less is more… and I promptly deleted my account. I am not quite ready for twitter. lol

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on March 31st, 2009
  11. Hey Mark, thanks for addressing my question re: insulin response in the fast answers the other day & your email before. Been reading for a couple years now and certainly learned a lot! Might as well jump in on Twitter, too. (Paleo_princess)
    -Sarah

    Sarah wrote on March 31st, 2009
  12. I’ve been following you on Twitter a while :) My twitter address is:

    twitter.com/Jolie30

    I’m looking forward to the new forums and the book!

    Jolie wrote on March 31st, 2009
  13. Thanks for the tips, Fitness Mantra.

    Instead of #pbp let’s own

    #primal

    for all things related to Primal living and the Primal Blueprint (including everything related to MDA). It looks like #primal isn’t really being used much yet. I think we can still make it our own group.

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  14. Love it! Excited for the updates on fitness and food.

    I’m following you on Twitter too- and thanks for following me!

    http://twitter.com/BEELifestyle

    BEE wrote on March 31st, 2009
  15. I think is a solid idea. I’d also like to suggest folks use #ifast to tag tweets regarding intermittent fasting.

    Hit me up at http://twitter.com/jnowings

    Justin wrote on March 31st, 2009
  16. Great idea, I’ll start tagging my meals with #primal

    I’ve lost 15 lbs in 3 months, and a full 16 lbs of fat…yep, I gained a lb in muscle, big fan, thanks to eating mostly primal

    http://www.twitter.com/justinache

    Justin wrote on March 31st, 2009
  17. Thanks, Justins. (And congrats Justin #2!)

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  18. #primal it is! thanks mark – glad to help!

    Fitness Mantra wrote on March 31st, 2009
  19. I have to agree with SoG; I doubt I’ll twitter, but I will start labeling my PB related blog posts with “primal blueprint” and “paleo,” if that helps!

    amy wrote on March 31st, 2009
  20. amy,

    Yes, please! Any mention of the term “Primal Blueprint” or links to Mark’s Daily Apple are very much appreciated. Thank you!

    Mark

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  21. I was going to leave a post like SoG’s, but he beat it to me. I’ll leave a similar one anyways. I work on computers all day long and half the time when I get home, I have it there while doing other stuff. I’ve found myself wasting more time on the computer. I refuse to jump on each new “social” thing that comes along…myspace, facebook, twitter and whatever is next…just so I can lose more time. Time I should be using to be outside, reading, relaxing, even catching up on my lack of sleep all of which are more productive to me.

    I’ve got to draw the line where technology helps me live primal vs. where it hurts. Maybe I just need to get a location outside or a iPhone so I could at least be in the sun.

    Not going to stop reading the blog though so I hope that doesn’t suffer.

    Joe

    Joe Matasic wrote on March 31st, 2009
  22. Joe, SoG,

    I hear you. There is a fine line. If you find that being connected 24/7 is dragging you down then it definitely isn’t worth it. If it causes you stress or keeps you from getting rest, play or relaxation don’t do it. I find that engaging with MDA readers and getting the Primal message out there is exciting, fulfilling and invigorating. Throwing up a quick Tweet doesn’t take more than a 30 seconds, and if I’m too busy I just refrain. I was under no delusion that every reader would be interested in joining me on Twitter. For those of you who are, welcome!

    UPDATE: ALMOST 100 NEW PEOPLE ARE FOLLOWING ME ON TWITTER NOW. THANKS, EVERYONE! I’LL TRY TO MAKE SURE IT IS WORTH IT TO YOU BY TWEETING OFTEN WITH A RANGE OF PRIMAL CONTENT.

    AND REMEMBER TO USE THE #PRIMAL TAG WHEN YOU TWEET YOUR LATEST MEAL, WORKOUT OR ANYTHING ELSE PRIMAL-RELATED, SO WE CAN ALL EASILY FIND IT. THANKS AGAIN!

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  23. Joe- I totally understand what you are saying do find that I get very frustrated with myself when it hits me that I’m sitting pissin around on the computer rather than being outside, enjoying time w people face to face, or something more “productive.” So I do agree with much of what you said. However, I do want to throw in (not that I’m saying you said otherwise) that I think this is a fabulous way to spread the word, get more people interested in living primally, share what we’ve all learned is the way we should live, etc. I think it is a great way for us to help Mark’s Daily Apple and Mark help others. If we’re on the computer/twitter/facebook already, why not throw a comment up there that relates to PB? This is the way of the world now so might as well embrace. Well done, MDA!

    Jane wrote on March 31st, 2009
  24. I have twitter, but I don’t really use it.

    Here’s something that might be useful to some of you. On The Daily Plate, now located at livestrong.com, whenever you enter your food or exercise you can have it automatically posted to your facebook or twitter accounts. I’ve never used this feature, but it might come in handy in this situation.

    Jacinda wrote on March 31st, 2009
  25. Thanks for the support, Jane, and for the tip, Jacinda.

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  26. For the record Mark, I think its awesome and would totally support your community. I dind’t mean to come across anti-helpful, anti-you or anti-twitter. Just trying to say that being primal for me also means knowing my limits, and I think twitter might make my cup spillith over! lol. Aside from that, I am all about spreading the good word!

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on March 31st, 2009
  27. Trust me, SoG. I know you support the Primal message. No confusion there. Cheers!

    Mark Sisson wrote on March 31st, 2009
  28. Ok, I joined, but I find it remarkably annoying, and no wonder Anniston left her boyfriend because of this stuff. I may just stick to Facebook, I don’t have to learn another internet language with that.

    George wrote on March 31st, 2009
  29. I wish there was a primal group on Sparkpeople.com since they let you track your food and fitness minutes and enter in target values so you can see if you’re making your goals. It’s been such a pain being the only primal one I know of on the site. Even the paleo group on there is now defunct.

    Rachel wrote on March 31st, 2009
  30. I’m twittering here:

    http://twitter.com/DianaHsieh

    Diana Hsieh wrote on March 31st, 2009
  31. Dr Dan wrote on April 1st, 2009
  32. What’s wrong with the comment system? I’m posting and posting and nothing happens. Maybe my comments get filtered out, but for what reason, I didn’t say anything rude or something.

    Whatever this is my last try for this MDA-article:

    Great, we finally got this stuff rolling. Everyone who wants to follow me, can do so, my nick is: madMUHHH

    madMUHHH wrote on April 1st, 2009
  33. Love this idea Mark. Have thrown up a post to encourage participation and will start tagging my own ‘what I am eating’ Twitter feed.

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on April 1st, 2009
  34. I’m with SoG again. Didn’t mean that in any bad way. If it works for some people, cool. I’m also very thankful for the blog.

    For me, I think its a big waste time. As I think a lot of the technologies today are becoming. Crap, I’m only 35. I can’t stand texting either but it does have its benefits and you can’t avoid it. Though I would think once the phones are better they could improve that to be more robust like email.

    Joe Matasic wrote on April 1st, 2009
  35. Thank Mark for setting it up.
    I agree with SOG, it can all become a bit too much. So my solution, I dumped facebook in favor of Twitter.

    does it matter if you put #primal at the start of your text or the end?

    twitter.com/MarcVanDam

    Marc

    Marc Feel Good Eating wrote on April 1st, 2009
  36. @Marc:

    It makes fiding primal blueprint related tweets easier, for everyone who is, well, searching for that via the twitter search or other sites.

    madMUHHH wrote on April 1st, 2009
  37. Marc,

    You can put #primal anywhere in the tweet. Thanks for the support!

    Mark Sisson wrote on April 1st, 2009
  38. madMUHHH,

    I rescued your comments from the spam box. Usually comments with links are set aside to await approval, but sometimes the filter goes haywire and just tosses into the black hole spam box. Sorry for the trouble…

    Mark Sisson wrote on April 1st, 2009
  39. Mark, THANK YOU!
    for everything you share and of course for DCMF.

    Marc

    Marc Feel Good Eating wrote on April 1st, 2009
  40. I just joined a real gym and will be having a personal trainer. I hope this helps with my weight loss, because so far I am just maintaining eating primal.

    Helen wrote on April 1st, 2009

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