How to play 1Step Forward, 2Steps Back, a netprov

  1. Make a character in Twitter (see tips below).
  2. Tweet about your daily regress at bakstepping using hashtag #baksteps . Report your current number of #baksteps. Humble-brag! Respond to others: Jealous-encourage them! Compare your data to others and find yourself both superior and lacking. Put on a brave front!
  3. Then… in solitude…  you can Tweet to #baksteps using the word “Selflog:” and reveal your character’s innermost doubts, a kind of soul-searching, intimate private workout journal.



Themes of This Netprov

  • Motivation & Our Motivation Systems: What de/motivates us.
  • Scoreboards: The many points-based games we play with ourselves. Can we win? How would winning make us feel?
  • When self-improvement = self-destruction
  • Forestalling Happiness (always 1 Bakstep away!!)
  • The voices in our heads that build us up and tear us down.

Tips for Making a Character

  • Players can be themselves or be somebody else.
  • You can use your own regular Twitter account or make a new one.
  • You can be a Regular Character or, if you want, a Personal Strainer.
  • We’re aiming for  1 Personal Strainer for ever 4 Regular Characters

Regular Character Inspirations

  • What is this character’s goal?
  • What is the downside of this character’s goal?
  • What do they have in their personal life that relates/complements/contrasts their workout life?
  • Consider still-life images of objects (not a selfie), representing how far you are from living up to your goal
  • Consider a video of your receding goal, filmed over your shoulder as you walk away (5 seconds of video)

Personal Strainer Inspirations

  • What kind of trainer is your character?
  • Withholding? Comparer? Nagging? Tough-lover? Disappointed Mentor?
  • What in their personal life is giving them the personality they have?
  • What might their character arc be over the course of the netprov?

Personal Strainer Pro Tips

  • Keep your strainees just barely out of reach of their goals.
  • Throw in random disqualifications for their own good.
  • Lavish them with faint praise: “Pretty decent effort.” “You learned a lot for next time.”
  • Studies show passive aggression is far more effective than outright trash talk: “Hey. Good ‘progress.’ Let’s discuss definition of progress.“ “Doing great at leaving room for improvement!” “Seems like someone is trying to impress me.”
  • Observe what they do and act like you don’t see it. If they get up early encourage them to “get up early!”
  • Make it about you, rather than them: “Looking at your numbers I guess I’m a poor motivator, ‘sorry.’ “
  • Guilt trip them: “It feels like you guys are trying to get me fired.”
  • Make them crave your approval: “You’re reminding me: The last group I had was absolutely outstanding! Sigh.” “Everyone: all the others in your group are outperforming you! Look alive!”