Can Twitter Enforce New Year Resolutions?

I am a big believer in New Years Resolutions… And some of them have come to pass!

In the past couple years my social media network, especially twitter and this blog, have helped me keep up on social media trends and helped me develop SMM courses, acting as both a personal learning network and co-creation platform!

So I naturally got to thinking whether my social network could help with resolution execution.

Are you familiar with “Quitter’s Inc.?”, the short story of Stephen King (1978)? In it an organization spun-off from the Mafia claims 98% success in curing smoking. Once you sign on with Quitter’s Inc. you are expected to quit smoking cold turkey. You are under surveillance: if you backslide the organization kidnaps a loved one and tortures them with escalating electric shocks or worse.

I plan to use the same simple concept adapted to social media. Two of my primary resolutions are to (1) lose weight and (2) finish a couple of key projects. Each Wednesday morning I will tweet how much weight I have lost and how many pages I have typed from the previous Wednesday and whether I have met the minimum goals of 2 pounds and 5 pages.

Tens of thousands of tweeps are available to ridicule me if I give up, or consistently fall short of the weekly goals!

Not as macabre as Quitter’s Inc., but hopefully effective…we will see!

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13 Responses to Can Twitter Enforce New Year Resolutions?

  1. ckburgess says:

    Professor Gary,

    While I welcome your invite to participate know that I only focus on positive psychology. The concept is quite simple. By that I mean that reinforcing happiness which will lead to desirable outcomes at school, work, to fulfilling social relationships, and even to good health – including losing weight – and a long life. Sustainability will only be guaranteed if you remain happy! If I make this commitment to you will you promise to keep your resolution?

    “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” ― Audrey Hepburn
    Happy New Year!

    • gschirr says:

      Thanks for your perspective, Cheryl.

      I am not surprised to hear that you favor positive reinforcement. You shine a lot of light in the online social world!

      – Gary

  2. anacanhoto says:

    It depends!

    If your readers are harsh with you when you miss your targets, yes it will work. But if they are polite, cheering you on your effort and gently ignoring when you fall short of your own targets, then no – in that case, you would be better off not making your goals public:

    The key to achieving your New Year’s Resolution, though, is not us, it is you. More specifically, whether you believe that you can do it and whether you attribute failure to lack of effort or lack of ability:

    I believe you can! Now go and do it 🙂

  3. Brave approach! Accountability is key to success in most endeavors, and habits do take time to change, so using social media to keep you motivated during the first few weeks (or months) could be a great way to steel yourself against the innate resistance to change.

  4. I’ll root you on for your positive outcomes. I wouldn’t reprimand you if you didn’t! Good luck!

  5. Patricia says:

    Interesting concept Gary. Crowdsourcing your resolution promises. I’m cheering you on! I decided this year to set a vision for my year instead of resolutions: by December 2013, what do I want to say about my personal and professional life? I’m thinking of three major themes: do more for others, advance my company beyond just revenue into being a solution for the marketing chaos with our clients, unplug and do more real life connecting. Happy New Year. Let’s meet here next December and see how we did!

    • gschirr says:

      Thanks for your insight Patricia!

      Let’s do compare what happened at year end. Please don’t totally unplug – you are one of the select group that lights up social media!

      – Gary

  6. brandcottage says:

    Thanks Gary. I will never completely unplug. I enjoy the engagement and learning, especially on twitter. Just getting better at time management on social.
    Like all aspects of life! At least that is the plan.

  7. ckburgess says:


    Neither of us will ever completely unplug, including Professor Gary, but I truly enjoyed meeting you in NYC. I’m wishing 2013 brings us all happiness and success, especially Professor Gary who depends on our support. Though I think the greatest motivator would be our “disappointment” in NOT keeping his promises & resolutions. That in itself should help him. My dear friend @TomPick tweeted out today #LoveAndKindness2013 and I think adding kindness and love to all relationships in 2013 is in itself the greatest motivator to keep our resolutions.

    So here is a direct message to Professor Gary: the next time you pick up something that isn’t healthy and good for you will you to eat please think of the disappointment you will bring to your friends if you eat that :-(((( You are now accountable to yourself plus your online community. P l e a s e don’t disappoint us Professor 😦

    Your trusting community.

  8. brandcottage says:

    Awe thanks Cheryl! Let’s decide on a time and place to meet again this year! I value your friendship and your smarts! Patricia

  9. kim says:

    This is something I too was thinking about, to reveal my resolutions and post about my progress; however I thought the info would be TMI at least wrt my resolutions: in other words you haven’t told us the gist of your projects (which interests me more than how much you write per day). On the weight issue, I have had someone clocking my weight for me on a monthly basis with a set goal, and it did help however I was very committed to losing the weight. So I’m happy to congratulate you on your progress, but Professor Gary, you too must make the commitment. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, as my mother always used to say ; ) Very best of luck with your goals and hi 5 on the great beginning!

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