- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Dan Buettner developed the idea that there are five Blue Zones around the world.
He recently starred in a Netflix docuseries called "Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones."
Over time, Buettner has developed an active social media presence sharing his longevity research.
The first Blue Zone, in Sardina, Italy, was discovered by researchers Gianna Pes and Michel Poulain, Insider previously reported. According to the Blue Zones website, Buettner began exploring areas in the world known for longevity after an expedition to Okinawa, Japan, in 2000. Alongside a team of demographers and researchers, Buettner identified five Blue Zones that all shared nine common lifestyle characteristics.
Buettner has written a number of books about his research, and was recently a host and executive producer on the Netflix docuseries, "Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones," where he traveled to the five zones and spoke about his observations on the lifestyle habits and environments of those areas and the quality of life experienced among their centenarians and older citizens.
The show's success has skyrocketed him to newfound fame, but he's been posting about Blue Zones for over a decade, building up a following of hundreds of thousands of people.
Over the years, Buettner has developed an active social media presence, sharing tips and advice about living longer. He currently has 403,000 followers on Instagram and over 131,000 on TikTok.
Sam Skemp, Buettner's chief of staff who has been managing Buettner's social media accounts since 2013, told Insider that Buettner plays an active role in the running of his online presence, often responding to messages and comments and sometimes posting himself rather than leaving it to his team.
In a written statement to Insider, Buettner spoke about his motivations behind maintaining a social media presence, saying: "A big part of an explorer's job is to share the findings. Otherwise, what's the point. When I started my career, books were the best medium. Now the world has moved to social media."
Here is how Buettner used social media to share his research and build a following over time.
Buettner has been posting on Instagram since as early as 2012, advocating for healthy living.
The earliest Instagram post available to view on Buettner's account is a picture of a plate of cherries, posted in July 2012. A hashtag from the post suggests it was taken in Ikaria, Greece, one of the five Blue Zones Buettner identified.
Many of Buettner's Instagram posts from the early to mid-2010s revolved around his work and interests in Blue Zones. He also used the platform to criticize processed food and share tips about how to eat "healthier."
Buettner has continued to use Instagram to promote his own work and the Blue Zone lifestyle.
Buettner has used his Instagram platform to share recipes inspired by the typical diet in various Blue Zones.
In 2019, he shared a post saying he was going to "live like" the people he had been studying for almost 20 years, and that for the month of January, he was going to "Eat a whole food, plant based diet," "Cut out refined sugars," and eat all his calories between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., among other things.
He urged others to join him and share posts about it using the hashtag #mybluezoneslife. Over the subsequent days, he shared a handful of recipes he said he was eating to support his diet choices.
He has also previously shared images of people who he says have lived to be over 100 years old, sharing what he says is their advice on the secrets to a long life.
As the author of multiple books, Buettner has shared announcements and developments about his written works on Instagram, as well as behind-the-scenes photos of various television appearances and segments he appears to have been involved in over the years.
During quarantine, Buettner shared recipe inspiration for people who were staying home.
In 2020, after the US was put in a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Buettner shared several posts encouraging people to try recipes from the Blue Zones website while staying at home.
"Perhaps a silver lining with this COVID-19 quarantine lies in the opportunity it affords us to learn how to cook at home," reads a caption on one of Buettner's posts from March 2020, where he shared tips on how people could stock their pantries during lockdown.
In 2021, Buettner began making short-form video content about his research on Instagram and TikTok.
Buettner posted his first TikTok in July 2021, and began posting short-form video content that involved him speaking directly to the camera to share tips about promoting longevity.
Skemp told Insider that he and Buettner meet at Buettner's house roughly once a month to film a batch of videos at a time to be circulated across both his Instagram and TikTok platforms.
According to Skemp, he and Buettner decide on ideas for the videos' concepts in advance, and during filming Buettner either uses a script he has written or speaks off-the-cuff about his research. Skemp then helps Buettner to come up with captions and post the clips.
One such video shows Buettner sharing four types of food items he thinks people should avoid stocking in their house: sugar-sweetened drinks, salty snacks such as potato chips and crackers, packaged sweets, and processed meats.
In another post, Buettner recommended that people eat a "Sardinian minestrone" soup instead of eggs and bacon for breakfast. He also recommended pairing the soup with a cup of black coffee, which is a known source of antioxidants.
Aside from dietary tips, Buettner has shared advice on other lifestyle practices for health and wellbeing, such as sleeping well and developing friendships.
Buettner's Instagram following has grown hugely following the release of his Netflix docuseries.
Skemp said that Buettner's online audience has grown relatively gradually over the years, with occasional spikes whenever Buettner released a new book, but he added that the Netflix docuseries, which was released on August 30, created a huge explosion in growth.
Buettner has gained over 184,900 Instagram followers since August 25, according to SocialBlade.
Buettner believes there are benefits to social media, but only when used in moderation.
Though he has a relatively active social media presence, Buettner told Insider in a written statement he personally only checks social media a couple of times a day and spends roughly 15 minutes per day responding to direct messages.
Buettner, who has previously talked online about the importance of developing friendships for promoting wellbeing, said, "I've actually made a number of good friends who I've met in the real world from Instagram."
Buettner said in a statement to Insider that using social media "to find credible information or connect with people in the real world" are "great benefits of the medium."
He added that social media can help to provide a "little mental repose" at the end of a hard day, but also caveated that by saying, "Our research shows that after about an hour a day, social media subtracts from well being."
Insider has previously reported that excessive use of social media can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression, and that too much screen time can be linked to trouble sleeping, back and neck issues, and a greater risk of obesity.
While there is specific expert guidance for the amount of time children under five should be spending on screens based on their age, Insider's prior reporting recommended that adults choose what is best for them on an individual basis.
According to Buettner in a video posted in October 2021, people living in Blue Zones tend to spend more time speaking face-to-face than through screens.
"Power down and live up," he said in the clip.
Read the original article on Insider