The (Beautiful) Social Network

I often wonder if social networking sites are good for society. Sure, they keep us connected and informed. But they also promote procrastination (I mean, I have probably checked Twitter five times since I started this paragraph) and encourage narcissism (Sorry Facebook "friends", I don't care what you ate for breakfast). Social networks have also been known to facilitate bullying and even expose us all to predators. But Under Armour, with the help of Red Tettemer + Partners, has created a social network that is truly positive and inspiring. It 100% negates any doubt I had about social networking.

The Under Armour network is called What’s Beautiful. It started as a 9-week competition to find the three new faces of Under Armour Women.

But what the network actually became is much more than that. It became a place for women to set goals, push each other, encourage each other and inspire each other. It became more of a community than a competition.

This week, What’s Beautiful announced its ten finalists. They also announced that there will be no end to What’s Beautiful. The site will remain active after the competition ends.

A poster we designed for UA to post on another inspirational social networking site, Pinterest.

If you're curious, the goal I set for myself 9 weeks ago was to “Bike 150 miles from Boston to Provincetown in 2 days, then finish it off with 5 pull-ups.” (note: I have never been able to do a pull-up in my entire life). So for nine weeks, I trained and documented my progress, along with thousands of other women, on whatsbeautiful.ua.com.

Well, the Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway was this past weekend. The moment of truth. I made it 75 miles on Saturday and 75 miles on Sunday. Check! It was challenging and exhausting. What got me through the rough patches was thinking about the people with MS who struggle every day. But their struggle doesn't end after two days like it did for me. That thought stayed with me through every steep hill. And so did the encouragement I received from friends, family, colleagues and of course, the women of What's Beautiful.

As for the pull-up portion of my goal... well... it was not met. Instead, I finished the race off with 30 push-ups. But like I said, the What’s Beautiful site is staying active. So with the continued help and encouragement from other women, I know I will accomplish my pull-up goal in the near future.

I guess you could say I am now convinced that if done right, social networking can be good for society. And it can make a difference. A beautiful difference.

So tell me, what would your What's Beautiful goal be? Better yet, go sign up and tell the world.