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A Surprising Twitter Support Community: #earthathon

Awhile back a friend of mine was telling me about how Twitter could be a great way to promote this blog. I already had two Twitter account, one for teaching so that I could communicate with my students and post interesting articles that relate to a course materials. My other Twitter account was pretty much left dormant. I had posted a few pictures of my kids and retweeted a few articles but I hadn't really done a whole lot with it over the two years since I opened it.

After some thought I decided to re-imagine my personal Twitter account. I changed my username, updated my cover photo, and used a profile picture that more reflected the theme of MamaGottaRun.

Not only is this a great way for me to get the word out when I publish new articles but I have found something that I didn't know necessarily existed in the Twitter community: I have found incredible support.

Through posting about my running I've gained over 900 followers so far in three months time. I'll admit sometimes people send you spam messages about some product they sell, but sometimes people contact you about great ideas too. About a month ago one of my followers asked me if I had ever heard of #earthathon. I had no idea what it was so I looked it up.

Simply put, Earthathon is the idea that individuals, who join teams, contribute their walking and running miles into a database that tallies the distance until the number of miles that it would take to run across the earth is achieved (250,000 miles).

It doesn't take much effort at all to join and it's free. Every time I go on a run (which I would do anyway) I simply login using my username and I input my miles. Once I've done that, I (optionally) tweet about it.

This is where the amazing support of Twitter comes along.

Since I've joined #earthathon any time that I post using the hashtag #runderfulrunners (the name of the team I joined) or #earthathon, runners all over the world comment, retweet, and favorite my runs. It is so weird, but these complete strangers have become so important to me that I get excited after I post about my runs on Twitter, knowing that other runners around the world are seeing my contribution. I feel bad if I don't contribute miles each week, so it helps with accountability too. I also get to support them as they tweet about their miles as well.

Anyone can become part of this group, so if you are a runner or a walker that uses Twitter you should consider joining. It has truly been an amazing experience. So many of the runners post pictures of where they were running. From a beautiful scene on a trail in Australia, to a lush green field somewhere in England, to a mountain hike in Colorado: it truly feels like we are passing the baton around the earth.

My own recent contribution to the beauty of running outdoors.

A recent #earthathon picture I posted after an 8 mile run.

I'm not sure what happens once we #earthathon participants have reach our 250,000 mile goal, but I'm sure the relationships that I've found on this journey will continue as we all still follow each other on Twitter.

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