Digital Confessionals: Tweeting Away Your Vices

Unlike TweetWhatYouEat, he said, all messages are automatically posted anonymously. Users post messages about each of their expenditures with the goal of tracking -- and hopefully reducing -- their spending.

He added that his newest site includes another interesting feature -- a Wall of Shame. Any entry you're not too proud of -- from an overpriced pair of shoes to an extravagant meal -- can be dragged over the wall for all members of the site to see.

Sajan Parikh, 19, a student in Walcott, Iowa, has been a devoted user of the site for more than a year and said it's helped him figure out where and when to cut back.

At first, it was a hassle to post every transaction. But now, he said, "I have it posted before I even get my change back."

Tweeting, Texting Helps Smokers Quit

Every week or so he goes online and takes stock of his spending, from video games and iPhone apps to Starbucks coffee and McDonald's meals.

"It's made me aware," he said. "It's easier to save when you know where it's going."

Social media is even helping smokers quit the habit.

Launched in March 2008, Tobacco Free Florida's Qwitter relies on Twitter to help users stop smoking.

Every time a user lights up, they send Qwitter a message with the number of cigarettes they smoked that day -- for example: @iquit3. With that message, Qwitter tracks the user's progress on a chart.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Health said the site has about 1,000 members, although she said they are unable to track if someone quits.

"We do note that adoption is high even as a novelty; and even if it gets one person to think about quitting, we have done our job," she said in a statement. "Qwitter should be used as a support system and is encouraged to be used in conjunction with other resources, such as tobaccofreeflorida.com and the Florida Quitline."

A recent study in New Zealand indicated that another form of social media -- text messaging -- could help people stop smoking.

Called Txt2Quit, the program run by The Quit Group, a charitable trust funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health, sends smokers who are trying to quit personalized text messages of advice and encouragement over 26 weeks.

The year-long program found that using the messages doubled reported quit rates from 13 percent to 28 percent after six weeks.

Dr. John Grohol, a clinical psychologist and founder of the online mental health resource PsychCentral.com, said that though any program is only works when a person can stay committed to it, social media reminds people of their commitments not just to themselves, but to others.

"Social networking allows that person-to-person connection that keeps our motivation alive," he said. "It keeps us not wanting to disappoint other people who have made similar pledges."

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