Archive for the ‘activities’ Category

Good blog posts speak to a target audience.

Good blog posts speak to a target audience.

1.Figure out who is buying what you’re selling and write for them. If your company specializes in building mobile applications, you’re likely selling to executives and marketing departments, not mobile app developers. Your own developers can still write content for your blog, but they should keep content way less technical than it would be if they were writing to their peers.

2. Good blog posts speak to the same audience the whole time.

It would be nice for marketers if every business had just one audience to reach, but that’s not realistic. Take the mobile app company again. Sometimes they sell to marketing, sometimes they sell to IT. They also use content as a recruiting tool, so sometimes their developers really are writing to their peers.

Addressing all of these audiences doesn’t make for the most consistent blog as a whole, but as long as you keep each post consistent from start to stop, you’re ok. For example, it’s not a good idea to start a post with a novice question and then give a very technical answer. Let your readers know what they’re getting into.

3. Good blog posts are about 400-1,000 words.

Blog posts should be easily digestible during a coffee break.  Readers will give up if they need to scroll down endlessly.  If you’re getting upwards of 1,000 words, consider breaking your post into two parts, or tightening up your ideas and language.  I chopped off about 400 words to make the final version of this post and it’s better for it.

4. Good blog posts are quick and easy to read.

Just because something is short doesn’t mean it’s easy to read. Make posts easy to skim by cutting content up into sections and lists. In fact, I’ll bet most people reading this post will simply skim the bolded description for each point, and read the explanations for the points they don’t understand. If I’m wrong and you’re reading every point word for word, prove it with a comment.

5. Good blog posts say something interesting and useful.

It’s OK to write a blog post about a quick thought, but make sure it’s a whole thought, not half of one and half of another. Would what you’re writing change the way your reader thinks about an issue? Spur an idea? Be worth emailing to a coworker? If not, you’ve got work to do.

Note: Old news to you might be useful to your readers. Last year, I wrote a post on How to Use Twitter for Beginners. Simple, but readers liked it (as shown by the comments), and we often send it to prospective clients who are Twitter newbies.

6. Good blog posts don’t have to be works of art.

You probably won’t win a Pulitzer Prize and that’s ok.  As long as your posts are useful, readers will come back for more.

7. Good blog posts show, not tell.

Don’t tell readers your company is awesome; write great content so readers are the ones who say your company is awesome. Use concrete, specific language and examples to build trust with your readers.

8. Good blog posts have a compelling title and lead paragraph.

Make your readers want to read your post right away.  But don’t promise something with your title and intro that you don’t deliver.  Here are 5 tips to improve your headline click-through rate.

9. Good blog posts are SEO optimized.

OK, I just told you to have a compelling title, but especially with titles, you need to strike a balance between catchiness and SEO. Scott Paley explains this with a story over at Abstract Edge. Don’t flood readers with keywords, but do pay attention to the basics such as pretty URLS (#2 here) and meta descriptions.

10. Good blog posts include a call to action.

Even if it’s just a call to comment or connect on Twitter, blog posts should end with something that moves readers to a next step. Do not, however, ask people to buy something at the end of a post. Hard sells in blog posts will lose your readers’ trust.

Well, there are my top 10 qualifiers for a good blog post. Please feel free to add your own tips and questions in the comments. And then get blogging!

How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing

Question Words

DIN015  Question Words are words used to form interrogative sentence. The words include words question is What, Who, Whom, Whose, Which, Why, Where, When, and How.

Pattern of Question Words

QW + Modal + Subject + Verb + Object

What (What / who):

-> Asking nouns (names of people)

example:

– What did she buy?

– What are you looking for?

– What will they build here?

– What is your name?
– What is his name?

-> Asking job or profession

example

– What is he?

– What does the man do?

– What are you doing?

Who (Who / others)

->Asking Subject name (actor) / person doing

example:

– Who takes my pen?
– Who put this book on the table?

– Who cleaned this room?

->Asking Object (The person who became the object)

(the PRESENT tense)

example:

– Who do you mean?

– Who is the man?

– Who are you talking about?

Whom  (Who / others): Asking Object

(person to object) (its tense than PRESENT)

example:

– Whom will you send the letter to?

– Whom did you talk to?

– Whom have they invited to the party?

– Whom did she go with?

Whose (Owned / had anyone): To ask the owner of an object

example:

– Whose pen is this?

– Whose dictionary can I borrow?

– I found this wallet in my bag. Whose is this?

– Whose brother will take care of the children?

Which (Which): Asking options

example:

– Which pen is yours?

– Which is your bag?

– Which man will you support?

– Which girl sang the song?

Why(why): To ask the cause or reason

example:

– Why do you come late?

– Why does she look so sad?

– Why don’t you join us?
– Why didn’t he repair that chair?

Where (Where): Asking Place

example

– Where did he go last night?

– Where will they go on this vacation?
– Where shall I put this fan? Where is your mother?

When (When): Asking the time of the activity

example:

– When you were born?

– When did he arrive from Singapore?

– When will they arrive in Japan?
– When did you send the letter to him?

How

->  Say hello / state (how’s / state …)

example:

– How are you this morning?

– How are your parents?

– How are you doing?
– How do you do?

-> Asking how (how to …)

– How did he play football?

– How does he go to school?
– How did she cut the tree?

-> Asking price / number of objects

what price …: much (uncountable)

how much …: many (countless)

– How much is this book?

– How much coffee do you put in my glass?

– How much do you pay for this pen?
– How many this apples?

-> Asking age (how old …)

– How old are you? How old is your grand mother?
– How old is the building?

-> Asking the nature of objects (how / how / se … [adjective] …)

– How high is the building?

– How deep is the river?

– How tall are you?
– How blue is your uniform?

-> Asking frequency (frequent, rare) (how often / rarely …)

– How often do you go to the library?

– How rare you take a bath?
– How often has your father angry with you?

-> Asking the duration (how long …)

– How long have you been waiting here?

– How long you take a bath?

– How long did he sleep?
– How long mother cook the cake?

That was the explanation of Question Words, I hope this article can be a source of reference for the readers. Thank you for your attention and if there are criticisms and suggestions to the author simply commented on the “comments”

PREPOSITIONAL VERBS & PHRASAL VERBS

ENGLIS Now we learn about “Prepositional  Verbs & Phrasal Verbs” and the example of Prepositional Verbs & Phrasal Verbs. So let’s read it.

PREPOSITIONAL VERBS

There are a very large number of combinations of verb+preposition. Prepositions always

have objects:

Please look after the children.

I’ve fallen for you in a big way.

In English, the preposition does not always come before its object; in certain kinds of

sentence, it can come at the end of the clause: What are you talking about?

Prepositional verbs are those which accept the passive and/or the pronominal question,

but not the adverbial question form.

PHRASAL VERBS

When a verb is used with an adverb particle the combination is called a phrasal verb.

There are a very large number of these in English. The meaning of a phrasal verb is often very

different from the meanings of the two words taken separately. In order to understand the

meaning of a phrasal verb, you may have to refer to the dictionary. Phrasal verbs can be

intransitive (not followed by a direct object) or transitive (followed by a direct object).

Examples.

break down (transitive)

get up (transitive)

sit down (transitive)

turn up (transitive)

Intransitives:

bring something up (=mention it)

kick somebody out (=expel him)

put something off (=postpone it)

throw something away (=accommodate him)

turn something down (=refuse it).

When a phrasal verb has a direct object, the two parts of the verb can usually be

separated: the adverb particle can be put before or after the object.

We’ll have to put off the party/put the party off.

Why don’t you throw away that stupid hat/throw that stupid hat away?

Could you put up my sister/put my sister up for three nights?

However, when the object is a pronoun, the adverb particle can only go after the object:

We’ll have to put it off.

Could you put her up?

Phrasal and prepositional verbs display certain phonological and syntactic differences.

PHRASAL-PREPOSITIONAL VERBS

There are a few verbs which consist of three parts: a base verb, an adverb particle and a

preposition: to get on with, to put up with, to check up on. These look complicated, but in fact,

they are used in the same way as any other prepositional verb. For example, to get on with

follows the same rules as to go with. Compare:

I get on well with Jill.

I often go to the theatre with Jill.

He’s difficult to put up with.

He’s difficult to work with

That was an explanation of Propositional verbs & phrasal verbs, I hope this article can be a source of reference for the readers. Thank you for your attention and if there are criticisms and suggestions to the author simply commented on the “comments”

Kind of Text

wordle-infoaccess_20080725-51 Hello reader. Now i will explain to you Kind of Text. So you must read it.

NARRATIVE

Purpose: To amuse/entertain the readers and to tell a story

Generic Structure:

1. Orientation

2. Complication

3. Resolution

4. Reorientation

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using Past Tense

2. Using action verb

3. Chronologically arranged

RECOUNT

Purpose: to retell something that happened in the past and to tell a series of past event

Generic Structure:

1. Orientation

2. Event(s)

3. Reorientation

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using Past Tense

2. Using action verb

3. Using adjectives

Narrative and recount in some ways are similar. Both are telling something in the past so narrative and recount usually apply PAST TENSE; whether Simple Past Tense, Simple Past Continuous Tense, or Past Perfect Tense. The ways narrative and recount told are in chronological order using time or place. Commonly narrative text is found in story book; myth, fable, folklore, etc while recount text is found in biography.

The thing that makes narrative and recount different is the structure in which they are constructed. Narrative uses conflicts among the participants whether natural conflict, social conflict or psychological conflict. In some ways narrative text combines all these conflicts. In the contrary, we do not find these conflicts inside recount text. Recount applies series of event as the basic structure

DESCRIPTIVE

Purpose: to describe a particular person, place or thing in detail.

Dominant Generic Structure:

1. Identification

2. Description

Language Features:

1. Using Simple Present Tense

2. Using action verb

3. Using adverb

4. Using special technical terms

REPORT

Purpose: to presents information about something, as it is.

Generic Structure

1. General classification

2. Description

Dominant Language Feature

1. Introducing group or general aspect

2. Using conditional logical connection

3. Using Simple Present Tense

EXPLANATION

Purpose: To explain the processes involved in the formation or working of natural or socio-cultural phenomena.

Generic Structure:

1. General statement

2. Explanation

3. Closing

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using Simple Present Tense

2. Using action verbs

3. Using passive voice

4. Using noun phrase

5. Using adverbial phrase

6. Using technical terms

7. Using general and abstract noun

8. Using conjunction of time and cause-effect.

ANALYTICAL EXPOSITION

Purpose: To reveal the readers that something is the important case

Generic Structure:

1. Thesis

2. Arguments

3. Reiteration/Conclusion

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using modals

2. Using action verbs

3. Using thinking verbs

4. Using adverbs

5. Using adjective

6. Using technical terms

7. Using general and abstract noun

8. Using connectives/transition

HORTATORY EXPOSITION

Purpose: to persuade the readers that something should or should not be the case or be done

Generic Structure:

1. Thesis

2. Arguments

3. Recommendation

Dominant Language features:

1. Using Simple Present Tense

2. Using modals

3. Using action verbs

4. Using thinking verbs

5. Using adverbs

6. Using adjective

7. Using technical terms

8. Using general and abstract noun

9. Using connectives/transition

Then what is the basic difference between analytical and hortatory exposition. In simple word. Analytical is the answer of “How is/will” while hortatory is the answer of “How should”. Analytical exposition will be best to describe “How will student do for his examination? The point is the important thing to do. But for the question” How should student do for his exam?” will be good to be answered with hortatory. It is to convince that the thing should be done

PROCEDURE

Purpose: to help readers how to do or make something completely

Generic Structure:

1. Goal/Aim

2. Materials/Equipments

3. Steps/Methods

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using Simple Present Tense

2. Using Imperatives sentence

3. Using adverb

4. Using technical terms

DISCUSSION

Purpose: to present information and opinions about issues in more one side of an issue (‘For/Pros’ and ‘Against/Cons’)

Generic Structure:

1. Issue

2. Arguments for and against

3. Conclusion

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using Simple Present Tense

2. Use of relating verb/to be

3. Using thinking verb

4. Using general and abstract noun

5. Using conjunction/transition

6. Using modality

7. Using adverb of manner

REVIEW

Purpose: to critique or evaluate an art work or event for a public audience

dominant Generic Structure:

1. Orientation

2. Evaluation

3. Interpretative Recount

4. Evaluation

5. Evaluative Summation

Dominant Language features:

1. Focus on specific participants

2. Using adjectives

3. Using long and complex clauses

4. Using metaphor

ANECDOTE

Purpose: to share with others an account of an unusual or amusing incident

Generic Structure:

1. Abstract

2. Orientation

3. Crisis

4. Reaction

5. Coda.

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using exclamations, rhetorical question or intensifiers

2. Using material process

3. Using temporal conjunctions

SPOOF

Purpose: to tell an event with a humorous twist and entertain the readers

Generic Structure:

1. Orientation

2. Event(s)

3. Twist

Dominant Language Features:

1. Using Past Tense

2. Using action verb

3. Using adverb

4. Chronologically arranged

NEWS ITEM

Purpose: to inform readers about events of the day which are considered newsworthy or important

Dominant Generic Structure:

1. Newsworthy event(s)

2. Background event(s)

3. Sources

Dominant Language Features:

1. Short, telegraphic information about story captured in headline

2. Using action verbs

3. Using saying verbs

4. Using adverbs : time, place and manner.

That was the explanation of the Kind of Text, I hope this article could be a source of reference for the readers. Thank you for your attention and if there are criticisms and suggestions to the author simply commented on the “comments”

SMS English

smsSMS or short message service was invented as a medium to stay ahead with the changing technologies in the world and provide users with a novel mobile experience, but with time it has evolved as a brand new genre in English language and has become an integral part of the “hot trends” surrounding the language.

English language is ever growing and to keep pace with the changing styles and trends in the language, you also need to be aware of some of the most commonly used short forms or abbreviations in SMS.

In the world of SMS language, words are made with the help of punctuation marks and by taking specific alphabets or numbers out of whole words or sentences. Some examples are here as follows:

There = Dere/Tere

Thank you = Thnx/Thnk u/Thnx/ty

What’s up?  = Wassup? /Wts up?/ Wtz up?/Sup?

Before = B4

Later = L8r

Night= Ny8

You = u

Are = R

Don’t = Dnt

I don’t know = Idk

As soon as possible = Asap

Be right back = Brb

Information = info

What = Wut/Wat

Goodnight = Gn

Take care = Tc

Sweet dreams = Sd

That = dat

See you = Cu

What about you? = Wbu?

Ok = K/Okies/kk

I don’t care = Idc

By the way = Btw

Talk to you later = Ttyl

For your information = Fyi

On the other hand = Otoh

Rolling on the floor = Rofl

And = N/&

Number = #

Tonight = 2ny8/2nite

For you = 4u

Laughing out loud = Lol/lolz

Message = msg

Text = Txt

Said in context = Sic

With respect to = Wrt

And the list goes on… There are no set rules on how to make and use these short forms. They are born out of the imagination and understanding of the ones who seem to be using them, and gradually becomes popular among others.

SMS language may seem to make things simpler or faster  but can easily confuse those who are new to it. They can also irritate people in case of official matters where they end up not taking you seriously. Therefore, these short forms can be used when you want to save time or are having an informal conversation with a friend or an acquaintance but must be avoided while sending official messages or formal notes.

Seven tips for English learners

global-common-240x200-brazillocd1141Many people think you need to live in a foreign country, have a close foreign friend, or spend long nights with your head buried in a boring grammar book, to master English…In fact, you can become a very successful learner of English if you follow some basic rules.

1. Relax and enjoy speaking

When you use English, don’t worry about making mistakes. The chances are you will always make small mistakes when speaking a foreign language. The important thing is to learn from the errors you make. Babies don’t learn to walk without falling over a lot!

2. Learn about how you learn

Recent research has shown that many of us have a preferred way of learning. If you are a visual learner, you can link language to pictures and images. Watch films with subtitles, try to visualise yourself in imaginary situations speaking English, fix words with pictures in your mind  If you have an auditory style, you have a ‘good ear’ for language and should listen to as much music as possible and watch movies in English. If you have an analytic style, then spend time studying grammar and comparing Vietnamese with English. A learner with an interactive style needs to spend as much time as possible speaking with others, discussing language and generally working in a team. A really good learner spends time on all these styles. Yet it is a sad fact that all over the world, many people are still taught in a traditional style that favours analytic and auditory learners.

3. Learn memory techniques

There are plenty of books on how to improve your memory. It is a skill that the successful learners I know take very seriously.

4. Immerse yourself

I once visited the home of a Spanish student who was actually quite a successful businessman. His house was littered with those small pieces of yellow paper called post-it notes! Every time he went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, to the bathroom to shave or used the remote control to change channel, he looked at those words. Again and again and again. Once the word was fixed in his mind, he put the paper into a file that he looked through at the end of the week. This way, he learnt 10 words a day, seven days a week. Read, listen and speak English at every opportunity! The best musicians and football players practise their skill over and over. The skill of communicating in a foreign language is the same.

5. Get Connected

I recently met someone who three times a week leaves her small village outside Hanoi, travels 1 hour on a motorbike and when she arrives at her destination, speaks in English for two hours to her friends in Britain, Australia and the US.  Her destination?  An Internet Café with voice chat facilities in the nearest small town. When I met her, she had never spoken to a foreigner face to face before, but after only two months of practising, she could hold a conversation with me in English.

The Internet has brought so many benefits to language learners. You can find great sites for practising grammar, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation and now, most importantly of all, speaking.

6. Learn Vocabulary systematically

Remember that learning English is not just about learning grammar. When we speak, we express most of our ideas through our choice of vocabulary, through collocations and fixed expressions. Think carefully about how you organise your notebook, don’t just write a long list of new words! Try to divide your notebook into sections. Here are some ideas…

subject pages; shopping, holidays, money verbs and nouns that go together; do your homework; make a cake expressions which use common words; overweight, to get over something, over the moon phrasal verbs; to grow up, to tell off, to look after fixed expressions; on the other hand, in my opinion, by the way idioms; once in a blue moon, to be over the moon, out of the blue expressions with prepositions; at night, at the weekend, in March, in 1988

Finally….

7. Get motivated: don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

In London, I had a Thai friend who was attending university there, studying fashion design. Her English was excellent. She told me that when she was fifteen she decided that it was her dream to study fashion in the UK. She found out what IELTS score she needed and started studying right away. When she was nineteen and old enough to go, she was ready. Her early start was a smart move: when she returned to Thailand after a year, some of her friends were still studying English, waiting to go abroad to study. She is now fluent, well qualified and walked into a great job!

 

(By Tim Hood – British Council)

Many people think you need to live in a foreign country, have a close foreign friend, or spend long nights with your head buried in a boring grammar book, to master English…In fact, you can become a very successful learner of English if you follow some basic rules.

1. Relax and enjoy speaking

When you use English, don’t worry about making mistakes. The chances are you will always make small mistakes when speaking a foreign language. The important thing is to learn from the errors you make. Babies don’t learn to walk without falling over a lot!

2. Learn about how you learn

Recent research has shown that many of us have a preferred way of learning. If you are a visual learner, you can link language to pictures and images. Watch films with subtitles, try to visualise yourself in imaginary situations speaking English, fix words with pictures in your mind  If you have an auditory style, you have a ‘good ear’ for language and should listen to as much music as possible and watch movies in English. If you have an analytic style, then spend time studying grammar and comparing Vietnamese with English. A learner with an interactive style needs to spend as much time as possible speaking with others, discussing language and generally working in a team. A really good learner spends time on all these styles. Yet it is a sad fact that all over the world, many people are still taught in a traditional style that favours analytic and auditory learners.

3. Learn memory techniques

There are plenty of books on how to improve your memory. It is a skill that the successful learners I know take very seriously.

4. Immerse yourself

I once visited the home of a Spanish student who was actually quite a successful businessman. His house was littered with those small pieces of yellow paper called post-it notes! Every time he went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, to the bathroom to shave or used the remote control to change channel, he looked at those words. Again and again and again. Once the word was fixed in his mind, he put the paper into a file that he looked through at the end of the week. This way, he learnt 10 words a day, seven days a week. Read, listen and speak English at every opportunity! The best musicians and football players practise their skill over and over. The skill of communicating in a foreign language is the same.

5. Get Connected

I recently met someone who three times a week leaves her small village outside Hanoi, travels 1 hour on a motorbike and when she arrives at her destination, speaks in English for two hours to her friends in Britain, Australia and the US.  Her destination?  An Internet Café with voice chat facilities in the nearest small town. When I met her, she had never spoken to a foreigner face to face before, but after only two months of practising, she could hold a conversation with me in English.

The Internet has brought so many benefits to language learners. You can find great sites for practising grammar, vocabulary, listening, pronunciation and now, most importantly of all, speaking.

6. Learn Vocabulary systematically

Remember that learning English is not just about learning grammar. When we speak, we express most of our ideas through our choice of vocabulary, through collocations and fixed expressions. Think carefully about how you organise your notebook, don’t just write a long list of new words! Try to divide your notebook into sections. Here are some ideas…

subject pages; shopping, holidays, money verbs and nouns that go together; do your homework; make a cake expressions which use common words; overweight, to get over something, over the moon phrasal verbs; to grow up, to tell off, to look after fixed expressions; on the other hand, in my opinion, by the way idioms; once in a blue moon, to be over the moon, out of the blue expressions with prepositions; at night, at the weekend, in March, in 1988

Finally….

7. Get motivated: don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

In London, I had a Thai friend who was attending university there, studying fashion design. Her English was excellent. She told me that when she was fifteen she decided that it was her dream to study fashion in the UK. She found out what IELTS score she needed and started studying right away. When she was nineteen and old enough to go, she was ready. Her early start was a smart move: when she returned to Thailand after a year, some of her friends were still studying English, waiting to go abroad to study. She is now fluent, well qualified and walked into a great job!

The Latest Tool for Tracking Obesity? Facebook Likes

 

@acsifferlin

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Obesity is a big problem that needs big solutions, and Facebook may be coming to the rescue.

In a way that’s never been possible before, people can record their interests, habits and daily activities that at first blush might seem to have only trivial meaning. But such data can be accessed by almost anyone (depending on privacy settings, of course), and that includes researchers. Scientists are turning to Facebook as a way to track how obesity trends, for example, correlate with geographically-specific trends in diet and exercise,  and hope that such information can lead to more targeted ways of reversing the obesity epidemic.

The researchers, from Boston Children’s Hospital, aggregated data on Facebook users’ interests and discovered that the higher percentage of people with interests that related to healthy and active lifestyles in a given area, the lower was that region’s obesity rate. The opposite was true for areas with a large percentage of people with Facebook interests that related to television, for example.

To come up with the link, the scientists studied what national Facebook users posted on their timelines, what they “liked,” and what they shared with their friends to come up with nation-wide associations.They also looked specifically at users within New York City and found similar trends at the neighborhood level, documenting that communities with more residents expressing interest in healthy lifestyle behaviors and products showed lower obesity rates than those where residents tended to show more interest in television shows.

(MORE: Why Facebook Makes You Feel Bad About Yourself)

Nationwide, obesity rates were 12% lower in areas where the highest percentage of Facebook users had exercise-related interests. In New York City, Coney Island, which had the highest percentage of users with activity-related interests had a 7.2% lower obesity rate than Southwest Queens, which had the lowest percentage of Facebook users with active interests. The power of the strategy, the scientists said, lay in the social media’s ability to focus on both national as well as local trends.

“Definitely in public health [Facebook] is a great source for identifying where we should target public health interventions,” says Rumi Chunara, an instructor at Boston Children’s Hosptial and Harvard Medical Center and author of the study, which was published in the journal, PLOS ONE. “At the same time, because this is a real time source, we can also evaluate the status of other interventions.”

Such assessments may be social media’s most important contribution to fighting the obesity epidemic, says experts, since many of the current strategies to reverse the tide aren’t working. “In order to combat obesity, we have to look beyond what we have been doing because it really hasn’t worked, which is the traditional diet and exercise,” says Dr. Jennifer Li, a professor of pediatrics and division chief of pediatric cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.. “One way of reaching people is through social media since most people are connected through Facebook and Twitter and various social media. Li lead an American Heart Association study on using social media to fight childhood obesity.

(MORE: Why You’re More Likely to Remember A Facebook Status Than a Face)

“We have to look at ways to reach out to people, and one of the things you can look at is how people cluster,” she says. “People cluster in social media just as well as they do in real life. If you smoke, your friends are more likely to smoke. If you’re obese, you’re friends are more likely to be obese. If you can make an impact on the group, you can have a ripple effect.”

Some programs are already exploiting the power of the interactivity of these networks; Weight Watchers, for example, has an online network of dieters, with apps and updates in addition to their traditional meetings. Programs like Weigh2Rock is another weight loss website targeting overweight kids via chat-rooms with dietitians.

“These can be used as a reinforcement tool if [programs] use the social media and websites to get supplementary information like diet advice and exercise advice to users. If there’s reciprocal interactions between the group and whoever is managing it, you can build in support,” says Li.

(MORE: Who Wields The Most Influence On Facebook?)

The very feature that makes these strategies so powerful, however — the openness and transparency of the connection that users feel — could also make them vulnerable to exploitation. While healthy brands and weight loss programs abound on Facebook and Twitter, so do less qualified programs and not-so-healthy brands that increasingly capitalize on the massive online audience. Jennifer Harris, the director of marketing initiatives at Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, studies food marketing aimed at children and teens, and has focused on how brands use social media to target them.

“There are so many children on Facebook especially, and the food companies all have Facebook pages that kids can ‘like,’ and when they ‘like’ the page, they are constantly seeing posts on their newsfeed and their friends can also see these posts from the companies,” says Harris. “Unfortunately, almost all of them are unhealthy food. If you look at the top 20 brands on Facebook, Facebook is number one, but then Coca-Cola is next with more than 60 million likes, followed by other brands like Oreos, Red Bull, Skittles, Pringles. These are all in the top 20 food brands on Facebook.”

Harris says fast food restaurants and energy drink companies are also actively using social media to target teens by creating YouTube videos. By enhancing the appeal of the posts and videos with lively humor and music, the companies are appealing to kids ‘and teens’ tastes and increasing the chances their hits will be shared with their friends.

“For teenagers, a message that comes from your friend is much more powerful than something that comes from a parent or teachers, so that’s another reason we think social media is used by companies that target teens,” says Harris.

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Unfortunately, while weight loss organizations and healthy lifestyle brands use social media too, their efforts have hardly been as appealing or as viral as those of the less healthy ones. “I think there is an opportunity [for healthy organizations to reach teens with social media], but with kids it has to be fun and entertaining, and [it’s hard] to make “eat healthy” messages fun and entertaining. I think we are just not as good at designing those messages as the companies that market to kids are,” she says.

There’s also the double-edged sword of relying on a social media outlet, which requires children to be online, to promote healthy, active lifestyles. Too much screen time can often contribute to a more sedentary lifestyle, so advocates of physical activity recognize their efforts have to balance that risk with the benefits of reaching people, especially young children, in a way that appeals to them.

“I think the mainstay of weight loss is diet and exercise, and a very important thing is prevention and education in the schools. I think social media is a way to reach a lot of people, but it doesn’t become a substitute for diet and exercise,” says Li. “It is a way to have people be incentivized, because a lot of people communicate right now through social media. It is not a replacement, but it reinforces behavior.