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Nike+ Hacked To Track Tweets Rather Than Steps

The Nike Fuelband makes exercise analytics easy, so one firm repurposed it to track social media engagement instead.

Nike+ Hacked To Track Tweets Rather Than Steps

Klout is an inherently cold product. It’s a tool interested in quantifying our popularity as a measurable stat–questionably useful for some industry professionals, but way too calculating for the casually self-aggrandizing social media user.

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Yet something about this Nike Fuelband hack by Stinkdigital finds a way to bridge the gap of cut throat analytics with friendly usability. It’s called TweetFuel, and it’s a digital hijacking of the Nike Fuelband that forces Nike+ to count tweets rather than steps.

Whenever someone tweets @stinkdigital, a modified Fuelband, hooked to a motor, spins. The more followers that person had, the longer the Fuelband spins. In an era of +1s and +Ks, it’s a somewhat silly, almost gameshow-esque reward for a social media mention. The even cooler level, though, is that the firm tweaked some of the Nike+ code to allow (okay, force) Nike’s built-in graph to measure all these tweets. So a few RTs become a parallel to a sprint in their interface. A story that goes viral could resemble a marathon through the day.

Somewhat ironically, TweetFuel ends up resembling contemporary social media tools more than most exercise programs. Take one look at the Nike+ interface, and you’ll see glossy, branded analytics that look far more like Sprout Social than they do your average treadmill LCD. And that’s a reassuring thing. Graphs don’t all need to look like they’ve been crapped out by Excel anymore, not when we’ve all become such desk-dwelling data junkies.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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