Online social network experiment

We investigated the effectiveness of online social support and social comparison as strategies for improving sport participation by staging an 8-week network intervention in the online fitness and coaching platform Final Surge. The intervention was implemented among participants of a group-based beginner strength training course at the university sport center of a Dutch university. Groups were randomly assigned to one of three conditions:

  1. Control condition: participants were instructed to maintain a log of their sports activities using the app.

  2. Support condition: in addition to the control condition, this group had access to a “Social Wall” feature where athletes’ activities were shared within the group. They could interact by leaving comments and kudos on each other’s activities.

  3. Comparison condition: participants in this group received a weekly group leaderboard displaying their training frequency and volume for the week, allowing for comparison with their peers.

We developed an automated web tool to facilitate experimentation within the Final Surge application. Documentation can be found here.


Franken, R., Bekhuis, H., and Tolsma, J. (2023, January 6). Stimulating sport behavior via an online social network: a real-life experiment. OSF.