338. Turkey Burn Breaks The Internet…And Hearts Plus Our Interview With Jessica Maddox!

TCO 338 | Social Media


  • Turkey Burn Recap.
  • How to get your Turkey Burn certificate.
  • App prices are getting ready to increase.
  • Peloton to use AWS for AI-powered workload predictions.
  • Peloton sued for Tread/Tread+ related patent infringement.
  • Irene Kaymer is back!
  • Mariana Fernandez freezes her eggs.
  • Emma Lovewell’s grandmother passed away.
  • The latest artist series features KISS.
  • There’s a new Latin music series.
  • Ginger Zee (from GMA) took an in-studio class.
  • Tamron Hall talks to the New York Times about her love of Peloton.
  • TCO Top Five.
  • The Peloton x U of Michigan partnership gets its own class collection.
  • There are five new Liverpool FC classes (and a badge).
  • Peloton hosts World AIDS Day Run.
  • Pre and Post Natal classes are now available in German.
  • Bradley Rose is hosting a class for A Day Of Disability.
  • Birthdays – Jenn Sherman (12/01), Tunde (12/05)

All this plus our interview with Jessica Maddox!

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Turkey Burn Breaks The Internet…And Hearts Plus Our Interview With Jessica Maddox!

We’re in the UK. We’ve been here for three days now. I like to think that the UK is in us.

We did take the lift.

We took a lift every day, multiple times a day. It talks to us. It tells us if the door is opening and closing.

We giggle every time.

That’s because he has not just a British accent but a very upper-crust British accent. The lifts here are very fancy. I don’t know if it’s all lifts because the only lift we’ve taken thus far has been at the hotel. I don’t know if this is an all-lift thing or if it is just this particular hotel is so fancy that its elevator voice-over artist is wearing a top hat and a monocle.

It definitely has a monocle.

I would say two monocles but then that would be glasses. Anyway, here we are still doing the show from a foreign country.

It’s so weird. It’s like 10:00 PM here on Wednesday and I’m so tired.

To our bodies, it’s like 4:00 in the afternoon, but we feel like it’s 1:00 in the morning. Maybe that makes sense.

It’s craziness.

It’s a mess, but in the bonus episode, we will go very in-depth on what we’ve been doing in London thus far. We’re having lots of fun adventures. We will dig into that over there, and a few items that we didn’t get to in this episode. We got the book club coming up.

It’s going to be on December 12th at 7:00 PM Central, 8:00 PM Eastern. We will be discussing Evvie Drake Starts Over. There’s still plenty of time to read that. That’s a nice fast read. I just finished that one up. Tom is not even trying this time.

I do it slowly. I would never not be reading books for the book club. I never get to read anything that I want.

That’s okay. I’ll give you the cliff notes.

The Crystal notes, just like she does for the show.

I have to say, this episode’s notes are brought to you by Helper Bee Nikki.

Thank you very much. Also, enjoy seeing Santa on December 9th. We’re talking to Jessica Maddox. She is a social media researcher.

She’s a huge Peloton fan.

She loves her Peloton.

We had a fun discussion.

I actually get to put on my Mass Communications degree hat.

That doesn’t get to be used for you very often.

Typically the only time you get to use anything related to your Mass Communications degree is if you’re a waiter. That was exciting, She talks about Peloton through that prism. It’s an interesting conversation. It’s not as boring as it sounds.

It’s a lot of fun.

I still make dick jokes. It will be fine.

There’s never been an interview you haven’t managed to find a way to peek one out. Go ahead, Tom.

What else do you have in store for people?

We got to talk about the Turkey Burn. We’re going to talk about the app prices that are coming up. They’re about to increase. Maybe they already started. I don’t know. What day is it? I’m so confused.

It is November 29th as we record this.

They’re about to. I think it goes up on the 1st or 5th. It’s coming up quickly and then we have some interesting discussion about Amazon using AI-powered workload predictions. We have some lawsuit updates for you all, and then we have a couple of instructor news tidbits, artist series updates, celebrity sightings, and lots of content to hit you with. Not to mention some birthdays.

Before we get to all that, shameless plugs. Don’t forget, that we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and TuneIn. Wherever you find a podcast, you can find us. While you’re there, be sure and follow us so you never miss an episode. Maybe leave us a review. It”s super helpful. We greatly appreciate it. You can also find us on the aforementioned YouTube at YouTube.com/TheClipOut, where you can watch all of these episodes, except this one because the Wi-Fi is too bad for video so you’ll just get a still shot.

You’ll see a little static image of us.

It’s a still shot of me 58 pounds ago or something like that. It has been a while. You can also find us on Patreon, Patreon.com/TheClipOut. Every week, we talk over there about the things that we didn’t have time for in this episode. If you want to know more about our London adventures, you’ll be getting a lot of time over there.

I have some updates on Brian’s school for the Patreon listeners too.

You can also get the episodes ad-free. If we get them first, you get them first. You can go over there to Patreon.com/TheClipOut. It’s only $5 a month, you get all the stuff. You can also sign up for free for things like the book club, which doesn’t cost you a dime, but you need to be a Patreon member. The free level and up get access to that.

Just click Join Community.

We don’t take your credit card information or anything. You can sign up for the newsletter at TheClipOut.com, where you’ll get a weekly email with all the things, the reminders, and the links unless I’m in London, in which case, I forgot to do it. Anyway, there’s all that. Let’s dig in. Shall we?

We shall.

Thanksgiving Day was ruined by Peloton.

That is certainly what some people would say.

The Peloton machine broke down in the middle of Turkey Burn, and then Barry McCarthy was spotted during the Macy’s Day parade, popping balloons.

He was just running out there.

Robin Arzon was going house to house replacing turkeys with tofu. It was awful. They waged a one-company war on Thanksgiving. What were they thinking?

If we look back, this was the 10th anniversary of the Turkey Burn and Peloton was going for their second and third attempt at breaking a world record. The first time was on the number of riders on just the bike. This time it was to break the record by having the most number of riders in a class for a bike class and then the most number of runners in a running class. That was the idea. It was also the most live classes Peloton has ever had on Turkey Day. Lots of things are going on. I’m not sure what happened.

I think what it was is they wanted to give themselves room to break the record next time.

You don’t want to go too far.

If your goal is 14,000, you get to 14,001 and you turn it off. The next year, 14,002, and you break a record.

You still keep holding that record. The first time they broke the record or made a record, it was 20,000 and some change. It was under 21,000. This time, the highest I saw it was 37,000. They definitely improved quite a bit, but it could have been a lot more people had it not been for the fact that the internet died. We maxed the server capacity and all of Peloton went down. It’s not just that class but every single bit of Peloton died. It was brutal. If you were patient, you were able to get back into class about 20 minutes in, but there were a lot of people who were super angry.

That’s a turkey half-burn or a turkey half-unburn if you’re optimistic or pessimistic. I don’t know which. I mean if you’re trying for this, you got to have some sort of metric of like, “When we had X number of members, this percentage took part in the Turkey Burn, so now that we have x times, at least, you know.”

The thing is that people don’t realize it when you don’t work in IT. I don’t work in IT, but when I worked for Charter, somebody would be like, “Let’s add this new screen.” It would take months to figure out how we were going to add that one screen to everybody’s app. I’m not even kidding. It’s not that easy whenever you have a whole infrastructure. Did they prepare? I believe with all of my heart that they thought they had.

I have no doubt that they thought they did.

Something went wrong. Something was unexpected and didn’t work out the way it was supposed to. That happens all the time. Remember back in the day when you would load up a new program on your computer? You’d slide a disc in and then click install, and then something would not work. You would spend the next four hours trying to figure out what it was. Do you remember those days?

I didn’t do computers back then.


I’m the nerd for not doing computers? I think you’re mis-defining a nerd.

Whatever. Anyway, that was a thing. I believe that most people have experienced that. I think that it sucks. I hate that it happened. Peloton hates that it happened. Barry McCarthy had a statement out in 40 minutes. Within an hour of the class ending, he had a statement out apologizing. That was the right call. They should have done that. Stuff happens.

Let’s go into a Turkey Burn recap for those of you who missed it.

There was a whole day of these classes. The Turkey Burn bike ride is the one that bit the dust. The run went through fine and they broke the record on both. Record achieved, but there was the Matty and Olivia Two-For-One Turkey Trot. That was an outdoor class. These two have been adorable since day one. They’ve always been big brother and little sister. That’s how it has always gone. They talked a lot about their family traditions for each of their respective families. A lot of fun.

We then had Jess Sims’ 30-minute Fit Family Cardio. It was a sneaky Two-For-One since it also featured Kirsten Ferguson. Kirsten may or may not have had her children join as well. It was a lot of fun. We had Matt’s 20-minute Turkey Burn Row. There’s a chance he had a hand and that Emma might have done a little curation on the playlist because people were super excited about it. Janet Jackson was the first artist with the song Miss You Much. That’s what sparked the “This feels like an Emma playlist” because Emma loves Janet Jackson and plays her all the time in every single one of her Crush Your Core classes.

I only know this because of Helper Bee Lindsey. As a matter of fact, there is a Janet Jackson song, every single one. That’s why we can’t help but wonder if she had a hand in this playlist as well. There was Denis’s 30-minute Turkey Burn Yoga Flow. He also talked about the movie Love Actually. He featured a memorable song from its soundtrack, Here With Me by Dido at just the right time of the year, so you never know. Also, while we’re here in London, I’m hoping to swing by the famous street where Hugh Grant goes and makes his big gesture. You haven’t seen the movie.

Yes, I have. We watched it together.

Why are you looking like you have no idea what I’m talking about?

They’re just houses, man.

Did you or did you not go all the way to New Jersey to visit a comic bookstore?

Yeah, but that’s cool.

Anyway, of course, we had the record-breaking classes. We’ve already talked about those.

If you take those in demand, they stop working so you get the real authentic experience.

No. We had Alex’s Turkey Burn Run. We didn’t talk too much about that. There was a very great playlist including Like a Prayer by Madonna. Of course, we went into the big ride.

The Turkey Burn ride.

Robin’s outfit with the Turkey Burn ride was killing it. She was like a spandex pilgrim.

That looks like a candy corn.

Lots of fun. Lots of good stuff. People were very upset, and I get why they were upset. That’s a tradition. People have done it for ten years. For some people, that is the only day they ride live all year long, and so they were very upset. I do think Peloton was upset about it too. It didn’t go as planned.

I agree. I was just making fun, but I get that that would be frustrating. If you have any complaints about what I said, you can forward them to Crystal and she’ll send them to me.

You don’t need to do that. You send them straight to Tom. He got it.

Here’s her phone number. If you were able to participate, you are now entitled to a world record certificate suitable for framing.

The cool part is if you did the first one, then you could have multiple certificates.

Collect them all and trade them with your friends.

You could be a participant in more than one, and lots of people complain that it costs money. I don’t know why you’re surprised that they’re going to mail you something and it’s $30, and people were like, “How dare they charge us money for a certificate.” It’s not Peloton doing that. It’s Guinness.

It might have been a third party.

For those of you not complaining and you want to get it, it’s super easy to get. The link is right in the article that we wrote about it. By we, I mean Helper Bee. It is easy to find and it will be in Tom’s hopeful little newsletter.

Maybe I’ll do that on the plane.

That’s a good idea. Good use of your time. I love that.

Thank you. Just a friendly reminder. If you’re an app user, the price is going up here soon.

For a lot of you, that means it’s going to be doubling soon. It’s going to go from $12.99 to $24 a month if you want all the classes. I have some good news for you. If you have multiple people in your household that you want to be using that app, then I have a good deal. All you have to do is go buy the Guide.

That has to be on sale cheap right now.

It’s $95.

Do you see how much I know about Peloton that I’m here to share with you, Crystal?

To be fair, I have no idea how long that sale lasts. I am so confused about what day it is. I know you said it’s the 29th, but I don’t know when that sale is. I think it was a Black Friday thing. My guess is it is still on sale, but I have no idea if it’s still on sale by the time this airs. Anyway, $95, right? You only have to pay $24 a month for the Guide membership. The Guide membership gets you five separate profiles. That’s important because the app membership only gets you one profile. That’s a huge savings. If you have multiple people in your household that you can share that app with, now you’re talking you don’t need any equipment except for the Guide for $95. You then spend $24 a month and you have access to every single class except scenic classes. That’s the only thing you’re not getting.

Will it get you a Turkey Burn certificate?


They’re so cheap.

They are. Got to go through the goodness.

I’m just going to read the headline because it’s a word salad to me. “Peloton leverages AI-powered workload prediction and automated resource optimization tech,” to which I would like to say load.

I thought you were going to say in all seriousness, “It didn’t work on Thanksgiving.”

Maybe that’s why. This is from yesterday, so a week later, they’re like, “AI, can you fix this?”

They were low-key blaming AI a week later.

“What happened to the Turkey Burn? I think it was Skynet.”

It’s a fancy way of saying that they’re using AI to figure out, based on how users use Peloton, when will it be busiest and this is how much you should put out there. That’s why I’m always like, “Oops, they failed.”

Somebody was like, “Do you need AI for Turkey Burn?”

Maybe somebody forgot to hit the override.

AI was like, “I’ve noticed on Thanksgiving Day, you get a lot of people. What do you think about that?” That’s what AI sounds like. It’s very real life.

It’s better than our bad British accent.

We can’t do them on the show because people would think it’s a hate crime.

Those are just for us.

Coming up after this, we’re going to tell you about the latest lawsuit facing Peloton. Stick around.

A little over a year ago, it was announced that Johnson Health Tech was suing Peloton for motor patent infringements on the Tread and Tread+. My legal advice was to say, “Yes, the motor is yours,” and then let them deal with the Tread+ lawsuit. “That’s your problem now, Johnson Tech.”

They did not take that advice.

That’s their mistake.

I don’t know about that. At the time, I remember talking about. I can’t believe it’s been a year, but we did talk about the fact that all treadmills use a motor. They named out these very specific patents and it goes on to say that they cover the motors used in the product, the sensors that can detect user engagement, a removable operating unit, a controller that is connected to the operating unit, and a controller and communication with the operating unit and the sensor. In other words, taking all those things, putting them together, and figuring out how well a person performed. That’s what the patents are saying. According to Bloomberg Law, they are saying that there is a very good chance that Peloton is going to win this battle against Johnson Tech over these three patents.

Apparently, there’s some sort of patent tribunal, which I hope that they wear cloaks. If you’re on a tribunal, you need to wear a cloak.

What they should do is go to that cool bar in New York on the rooftop. They can borrow their cloaks. There’s fire up there and everything.

They were allowed to present this to the tribunal because they said that there’s a greater likelihood or there’s reason to believe that they will win so they get to present it to the tribunal.

The tribunal was like, “You’re probably going to win.”

They were like, “We are getting our cloaks dry-cleaned for this one.”

They shook their magic 8-ball and they said, “All signs point to yes.”

Irene Kaymer has done the impossible. She has gotten rehired by Peloton.

Never seen that before. That is some history in the making.

I don’t know who she has pictures of.

Maybe it’s Oliver.

She’s a female but I think she has pictures of Barry McCarthy on an Echelon. They were like, “We’re going to bring her back into the fold.” I would love to know the backstory here.

It is interesting because nobody likes to look too closely at the details, but I do remember when she left. I did not hear any details on why she left at the time, but I remember very clearly that on social media, she was lighting Peloton up and she was saying some not very nice things about Peloton. I was surprised to see this rehire. I would be surprised to see any instructor rehired because of the things I hear in the background, which I will not go into because someone will yell at me. I never heard any details other than what I saw she put on social media in this particular case. People have been taking her classes. They’re glad she’s back. She’s going to be teaching in German. She’s going to be teaching in English. Welcome back. Formerly, Irene Schultz, if you’re wondering.

I knew that was a different name.

That name doesn’t sound familiar. While she was gone, she took that time to get married and have a kid.

To a high-powered trial attorney. Somebody’s like, “Maybe. Let me do some googling.”

I have no doubt that our helper bees would have uncovered that by now if that was the case. I don’t think it’s anything nefarious.

Mariana Fernandez had a good week.

It was a few weeks ago. We had to spend a moment on this because we talked about it briefly in the last episode. I felt like we needed to give a moment to this headline that Helper Bee Jen came up with.

I’m a fan.

“Eggs on ice, Feet on fire.” I can’t say that without laughing, “Mariana’s marathon PR and future plans.” She put her eggs on the ice and then her feet were on fire, and she got a PR.

Good for her.

It’s very cool that most of the instructors are so open about these things. For those that aren’t, that’s their choice and I totally understand that.

A lot of them have been open but there could be a lot more. They’re not open and that’s their prerogative.

Nothing wrong with that.

After a headline like this, there will probably be fewer.

Luckily, Mariana is wonderful and she’s so sweet. I think it’s great whenever the instructors speak out about things like this. I think it’s cool that she’s sharing about it. Congrats on her PR once again.

Some sad news from Emma Lovewell. Her grandmother passed away.

It’s super sad, although she had a long wonderful life, 106. That’s incredible.

That’s a PR. It sounds like she passed away very shortly before her 107th birthday. That’s crazy. Obviously, you can’t tell from pictures but she sure appears to still be with her. She is playing what I first thought was Scrabble, but I don’t think it’s Scrabble. Mahjong, maybe.

I don’t know. The tiles that are there don’t have any dots on them. She’s very involved in all the pictures that are occurring. She’s in doing things.

She’s dialed in.

Like on Zoom. My mom and dad can’t even get on Zoom. She’s 106 and she’s like, “I got this.”

I struggle with Zoom and I’m literally half her age. We are sorry to hear that.

She’s a fun lady and she seems super full of life. I’m so sorry for Emma’s loss but I’m glad that her family had such a wonderful person in it.

The latest artist series features a band I’ve heard of and seen a couple of times, Kiss. They are on their farewell tour, two of the four, and then two of them are in person.

You can’t tell under all the makeup.

That’s what they’re banking on, and I do mean bank.

It’s pretty neat how they’re doing their final tours in New York. They have all of these different activations set up all over the city and several different things are going to be happening. It’s neat the way that they’re going out with a bang. I know that it’s just money, but it’s cool marketing. It’s a great way to get people involved.

Gene Simmons knows how to ring every nickel out of the Kiss brand. He always has. You can literally buy a Kiss coffin.

I got to give it to him. It’s great.

I love the fact that so many bands, when they do this, were like, “That band is sold out,” and Kiss has been like, “We’ve been like this since day one. We’re here to make money.”

“You can’t you can’t even say that to us because that’s how we came in.”

They’re like, “Damn right, we did.”

Look at them. They’re never hurting for cash. That’s for sure. Tons of classes though. It looks like 4 or 5 classes that you can take. They’re all within the November 30th range. Lots of fun stuff.

While we’re talking about an artist series, this is not an artist but a music series. There’s a new Latin music series.

This is going to be like the Spanish class series taught by Camila, Mariana, and Rad. It’s going to feature music from influential artists who’ve paved the way for Latin music across the globe.

Iconos Latinos. That’s fun to say.

That’s going to start this coming Saturday.

We had a couple of celebrity sightings this week. Ginger Zee, the meteorologist for Good Morning America, took an in-studio class. Here she is in the studio.

There she is taking a class. Get that meteorology on. She says meteor allergy.

That’s when you’re allergic to the weather. Also, Tamron Hall talked about her love of Peloton in the New York Times. Since we don’t have a New York Time subscription, we can’t tell you more about it. She loves her Peloton.

It is time for the TCO Top Five.

We have the favorite Peloton upper-body strength. This was from November 2nd. It was the 30-minute 1989 Taylor’s version, upper body with Callie Gullickson. Tina Fryling said that she loved this class. “The music was perfect to sing along to, which made the time go faster. Only Callie could make burning out your arms and shoulders seem so light and fun. My arms were still sore two days later.”

My favorite Peloton core strength. This was the core strength with Emma Lovewell from 11/19. Becky Gomez enjoyed it. She said that she found a remake of an old favorite for this week’s new favorite. It was from several years ago. “The entire class is on your back. No planks, but it’s definitely a burner and she used the same music, which the original was Naughty by Nature, which is great.”

We have our favorite Peloton yoga. This is a 30-minute the Chelsea’s Own Your Power with Chelsea Jackson Roberts from November 20th. TCO listener I’m Not Spicy loves this class. She said she’s been taking the Chelsea set yoga series each week as a beginner in yoga. Her series has been something she looks forward to the music, the vibes, and practice. Building on it does build confidence. She finds Chelsea positive, motivating, and inspiring.

We had our favorite Peloton ride. That was the 45-minute Turkey Burn ride, which is always is despite all the issues. Sarah Lester loved it. She she said she doesn’t usually ride with Robin because she doesn’t connect with her. “However, her sharing the struggle to come back from kid number two helped me connect with Robin better. I will be trying some more of her rides going forward.” That see that is a great example of how people on both sides can continue to evolve You might find an instructor you never liked. You might like them now or they’ve changed.

Of course, we have our unstackable. This was a 30-minute HIIT and Hills from Matt Wilpers on 11/15. This came from Run Ride Girl. She said, “Holy cow. I was not ready for that. Not only was the HIIT portion is hard, you run the hills, but a great class if you were training for a race. I’ll keep this one in my back pocket, deep in the pocket to take it again when I’m officially training. Great class.” I don’t blame you. Save those when you get to. They’re so good for you. Why does it make it so hard to do? Don’t want to hurt all the time.

If you have been enjoying the Peloton and University of Michigan collaboration, you’re in luck. They now have a class collection.

I thought this was fun. We have a 10-minute upper body mobility with Andy Spear and a 10-minute level-up meditation with Chelsea Jackson Roberts. I’m sure we’re going to see more. I think this is just the beginning. We’re going to be seeing more of these things. I do not understand why people are so weird about this Michigan thing. I don’t get it. Some people are saying they don’t understand why it’s Michigan when they like other schools.

They were like, “I root for another school so this school should go eff itself.”

That’s part of it but then you have another selection of people that are like, “I don’t like these partnerships and I don’t like that they’re doing it. This makes me not respect Peloton.” I don’t understand that because they’re trying to reach people that they would not normally be reaching. I don’t understand why you don’t like that. How does it affect you? Just don’t take the class. I don’t get it. I don’t understand.

You got me, but here’s something else to complain about while we’re talking about sports partnerships. You also have a Liverpool FC collection.

This one is five new classes, but the best part is you get a badge.

To make it even cooler, now when people complain, they have to do it in a British accent.

We would mimic that right now but again, hate crimes. We can’t do that.

We have a World AIDS Day run coming up on December 1st.

This is a 30-minute run. Jeffrey McEachern is teaching it. Also, there’s going to be a lot of information about how you can support AIDS awareness. You can raise money for it and you can recognize things that are out there in the world that you might need to know about. What is this woman’s name?

Phoebe Robinson.

She is going to be a special guest in this run. That’s pretty cool that they’re doing that. I like that they’re commemorating World AIDS Day. I like that they’re doing more things like that. The world moves so fast and people forget about all the bad stuff that occurs.

It’s easy for AIDS to fall on the back burner because it has become more of a manageable condition than the death sentence it was throughout the ’80s and ’90s, which is great, but it’s still something people need to be aware of and protect themselves accordingly.

Continue to support the fight against HIV and AIDS and join the class.

We now have pre and postnatal classes in German.

Mayla Wedekind is going to be having a special series, but they were also designed by Assal. It seems that she put these classes together specifically for Mayla. They’re both featured in the classes, the pre and the postnatal.

If you’re pregnant in German, dig in.

In English, there are probably going to be some captions if you want to follow along if you’re multilingual.

Finally for content, Bradley Rose is hosting a class to commemorate the Day of Disability.

We don’t have a lot of details about this one. It just showed up on the schedule. We’re not exactly sure what all it entails, but we will be bringing you more details as soon as we have them.

We have two birthdays. On December 1st, it is Jenn Sherman.

The original Peloton instructor.

On December 5th, it is Tunde. Happy birthday to both.

Happy birthday Tunde and Jenn.

Coming up after this, we’re going to talk to Jessica Maddox. She’s very smart and loves Peloton. She’s going to talk about Peloton in very smart ways. I’ll be there too.

So will I.

Yes, but I was juxtaposing smart with me. I lump you into that.

Thanks. On either equation.

I think they know that you love the Peloton.

You think? I don’t know.

Anyway, stick around.

Joining us is Jessica Maddox. Jessica, how’s it going?

I’m good. How are you?

We are so glad to have you here. Thank you so much for doing this.

Thanks for having me.

TCO 338 | Social Media


I always like to ask people. How did you first get involved with Peloton, if you go back?

I’ve wanted one for a long time before the pandemic, which I feel like we always have to reference in talking about Peloton’s rise. I didn’t get one then. I didn’t even get one before the pandemic. I didn’t get one during the peak of 2020. It was in fall 2021. A few years ago, my husband and I finally were like, “We’re doing it. We’re buying a Peloton.” It is the best decision we’ve ever made. I’m not sponsored by them. It truly is my favorite thing.

What got you over the hump? What was the final decision factor? That was around the time they started playing with the pricing. Was that an indicator?

Yeah. That was part of it. I remember I had traveled out of town to visit a friend. She had a Peloton. I remember standing in her Peloton room and being like, “Is this worth it?” She was like, “It is. It changed how I do fitness. It’s so great to do at home.” I was like, “Okay.” She was selling me on it. At that time, too, it was October. This was Halloween. We were like, “They’re going to honor Black Friday all month. That’s a really good deal.” This is also so morbid, but it was also after the incident with the Peloton Tread and so the prices were low. We got that in the Black Friday all month. All of that was like, “We will finally pull the trigger and do it.”

They got you. What makes this the best decision you’ve ever made?

I work a pretty stressful job. I’m a tenure track professor at a major research university, a state flagship university. One is the convenience of being able to come upstairs. To come upstairs to my house and do this is so convenient. It’s right here. I love the convenience of not having to go to a gym, which is what I did for years up until I moved to Alabama where I am for my job.

The classes are so fun. The first ride I ever took was Ally Love’s Beyoncé ride. I hadn’t worked out in maybe a year at that time and I was so nauseous. I was like, “What have I done?” At the same time, it was so fun. I’d done spin classes before and stuff, but in that moment, even though I hurt everywhere, I knew my body would get used to it again. I was like, “This is fun. This is the vibe I’m here for.” I love how it’s a non-judgmental space. The convenience of it being in my house and the fun vibe of the class is everything to me.

Peloton is a non-judgmental space. The convenience it offers to workout in your house and enjoy the fun vibe of different classes is everything. Share on X

I’m curious. If your first ride was a Beyoncé ride, how did you land on that? Did you know there was a Beyoncé ride and you searched for it? Did you like her and you searched for it? Was it on the screen and you were like, “Good enough?”

I searched for it. This was maybe already a year old or something on Peloton. I do most of my rides on demand since I’m always working or sleeping when they do the light classes. When I was waiting for the bike to arrive, I was super excited. I was googling the best peloton rides and the Beyoncé one came up. I was like, “This is it. This is my first one. I’m going to do it,” and I did. It was fun, but I hurt everywhere.

That’s fantastic. I love that you picked out your ride before your bike had even gotten there. That’s awesome.

I was very excited.

Did you have to wait very long?

No. By that point, it was maybe 2 or 3 days.

They were doing good by then. I didn’t know where you were at in that supply chain kerfuffle.

We were out of the supply chain kerfuffle in 2 or 3 days. They wouldn’t even let us help bring it upstairs. They were like, “Don’t touch it. We’re going to do all of it.” I was like, “Okay.”

There was a period when they would drop it on your porch like an orphaned war baby.

It was during the pandemic. People still wanted their bikes but it wasn’t safe to do a home delivery so they would drop it off on your porch.

They would put it on your porch and dingdong ditch.

I would have been so nervous for something so expensive to be left like that, but I get it.

They waited for somebody to come to the door. Tom’s telling stories.

There might have been a smidge of hyperbole in my description. I only say hyperbole because I know that you’re a fancy college person. I’m trying to show off.

I’m glad you segued into her job. I would like to know what exactly is a social media researcher. What does that mean?

I have a doctorate in Mass Communication from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism.

As someone who has a bachelor’s in Mass Communication, those things are worthless. I can’t believe that you doubled down and got a doctorate in Mass Communication.

The joke’s fully on me. My husband and I were having an argument about something. He was like, “According to the peer-reviewed scholarship I read,” I was like, “Peer-reviewed scholarship is BS.” I was like, “Have you met the people I work with?” They’re great, but I was like, “Have you met the people I work with? Don’t trust academics on anything.” It’s probably not what I should be saying when I talk about my expertise.

It’s like philosophy. There are no jobs in that field. All you can do is teach other people philosophy. It’s like a Ponzi scheme.

She’s making it work.

It’s an MLM. She’s at the top of the pyramid.

That’s true.

Well done.

I’m a successful example of a multi-level marketing team.

She drives a pink Cadillac.

That would be sweet.

I would be like, “I want pictures now.”

I did my doctorate in Mass Communication, specifically studying social media platforms and the pop culture that happens online. I look at memes, content creators, and influencers. I also examine and research the tech industry. It is the industry that allows all of these things to happen in the first place. For my job, I am an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the University of Alabama. I teach classes in Social Media and Society and Social Media Storytelling. I teach future Bachelor of Communications individuals.

TCO 338 | Social Media


I want to go back. You research all things social media and all things forward-thinking about what social media is turning into and how it’s affecting people. How does Peloton play into all of that research?

I’m the type of researcher who sometimes tries to draw a line between things I love and then research them because I don’t want to ruin them by researching them and putting them under scrutiny or putting them under a proverbial microscope. With Peloton, that failed. It has failed me a couple of times before, too, where finally, I’m like, “I can’t turn off the part of my brain that’s asking questions and thinking about things.”

When I got my Peloton and started taking classes, I’d always start finding it interesting that at the end of the rides, instructors would be like, “Follow me on Instagram. If I didn’t get your milestone, go find me on social media. I’m on TikTok now.” I was fascinated by this link between Peloton instructors and their use of social media. I was also fascinated by the idea of the leaderboard using hashtags and then the fan pages around the hashtags that come up on Instagram like Callie’sKillaCrews and Logan’s JustAnArmSquad. I was interested. I followed all the pages. I followed all the instructors. I found it fascinating.

To me, Peloton instructors were using social media to extend the longevity of the Peloton experience. You get your ride, but then, too, by following them on social media, you get to keep Peloton going anytime. Callie is one of my favorite instructors. I take a lot of boot camps with Callie. Anytime she’s like, “What songs do you want to hear in the next class?” I remember the first time I suggested it. When she played it, I was like, “That was my suggestion.” It was probably a lot of people’s suggestion because it was a top-three song at that point, but I’m still taking credit for it.

I used to work in radio. I used to be a disc jockey a million years ago. It was always great when somebody would call and request a song that you were going to play anyway. They’ll be like, “Will you play Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground?” I’m let, “We play it every 45 minutes. Why would you call and request it?” It’s 1996. I’d be like, “I’ll get that right on for you.” That’s what happened to you.

It’s an easy win.

I was one of those people. For the record, we were asking you to play it right then. That’s what we meant. We didn’t want to wait the 45 minutes. That was the twenty minutes we were listening to terrestrial radio because we were in the car. Play it. That’s what it meant.

You couldn’t have called from your car back then.

In 1996, I could. Thank you.

That would’ve been a very expensive request. You should’ve bought the CD I had. Let’s go back to Jessica.

As a Millennial, I’ll make a joke of what’s radio.


I’m not that young.

That’s not nice.”I also find it interesting that you joined Peloton and noticed this. They’ve always extended that experience. I don’t want to make that sound like a change. When the pandemic occurred and they couldn’t talk to people in person, it changed that after-class experience on Instagram.

It turbocharged it.

I believe it.

I find it interesting that that’s something that you noticed. They wanted to make sure we can all connect with them since they can’t connect with them live.

It’s always so interesting. COVID still is a thing. It still exists. Half my students are out of class with it. Looking back, it changed so much, since I studied communication, how we communicate. We’re on Zoom. To an extent, Zoom was non-existent. It existed but wasn’t popular before 2020. It was one of the first things I noticed. I’m aware when I’m being influenced, but I’m also aware when it’s working. I’m like, “I can’t be mad about it.”

I do the same thing.

It’s like, “It’s effective so I’ll give it a pass.”

I enjoy it. I like following the instructors. I personally and professionally study what I study. I find it interesting how they use the language of being an influencer from what I see. Some of them are. They have sponsored brand deals and whatnot, but it goes beyond that of helping Peloton be a lifestyle, not just a fitness product.

We’ve talked since the beginning that it’s fascinating that people chose Peloton, especially at the beginning before people fully knew what it was. It was like, “I’m getting this so I don’t have to go to the gym and interact with people,” and the exact opposite happened to them. You end up interacting with people way more than you ever would at a gym. You were not doing it during the workout. I know there are high 5s in the leaderboard, but I feel like 80% of people’s engagement with other people, if not more, is not while they’re engaging with the equipment or the app.

The Peloton Reddit, Peloton Facebook groups, following instructors on Instagram, and being a part of the fan pages on Instagram, so much of the community’s happening there. One of my former coworkers who’s also super obsessed with Peloton like me, I always told her if Peloton figured out a way to put that community on the platform somehow and make their own forum on the app., we would never get off it. We would all be on there all the time.

That has been discussed so many times. People have asked for it, especially people who hate certain social media platforms. It varies depending on the month we’re in and the day we’re in.

Everybody’s got the one they hate.

It was back when Facebook was going through whatever they were going through. Everybody hated them at the time. They were like, “Peloton should have their own.” I even heard a rumor that there were tests being done.

I’ve heard of that, too.

It’s been years and nothing has ever come out of it.

It’s so hard to get people to migrate to a new platform. You want the engagement. If you go there, put something out, and don’t get any feedback, you don’t go back. It’s hard to reach that tipping point where people finally are like, “This is a real thing for me to interact with.”

I feel like we see that so much with the Twitter/X or whatever it’s called. People are on Mastodon, Blue Sky, or Threads. It’s a mess. We’ve underestimated how much we come to depend on platforms in our lives.

I have a communications question.

He’s going rogue.

I am. She writes the questions and then I ignore them. We’re married. It’s the same with the grocery list.

That’s true.

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned this. Years ago, I talked about Marshall McLuhan and his definition of hot media versus cold media. For a lot of people, it’s counterintuitive that the hot media would be something like radio. It makes your brain engage with it in a way that TV doesn’t because TV fills in all the gaps for you. You can sit there and zone out. That’s cold media. What would you, as a communications doctorate holder, consider Peloton to be? It’s a screen which is cold media, but you’re engaging with it in a way unlike any other piece of media that’s maybe ever existed.

By virtue of the fact, it is fitness media, which McLuhan could have never conceived of in his lifetime. I would say hot media because you’re so active.

You’re so focused on it. That’s where I’ve always landed. It doesn’t have the physical parameters of what traditionally has been aside hot and cold. I was curious.

He’s been fascinated with this for years.

I’m a nerd.

I would say hot. When I think about McLuhan’s most famous quote, “The medium is the message,” if the medium of Peloton is a high-tech fitness bike, it’s that convergence of so many different things. The social, fitness, technology, and vibes are what make it hot because we are so interactive with it.

Peloton is the convergence of different things of social fitness technology, making it highly interactive equipment. Share on X

As you’ve researched as a user and as an academic, what has surprised you about Peloton the most?

As a user, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when I found out how much money they make, but I was a little bit. Good for them. They bring so much joy into my life. They deserve it.

I agree with you.

In terms of an academic, I sometimes wonder if Peloton ever integrated a social media system. I sometimes think about Peloton in terms of, and we’re not here yet, pay-to-play social media. In social media, anybody can make a Facebook account. Anybody can make an X account. X is a stupid name. I’ll say that in every interview.

It’s so dumb.

You’re not going to find an argument in this room.

It’s not because you’re a genius that it means you’re smart.

That’s real. I think about Peloton and I was like, “You do have to spend all this money to opt in.” Fitness is like that. If you join a gym and do this, it’s going to cost money. When I think about the community, the culture, and then the social media aspect of it, I was like, “I wonder if social media ever will become you have to pay to opt in.” I think about it in terms of Web 3.0 which is a lot more decentralized. It’s like Mastodon or Blue Sky where these platforms are being hosted independently of one another as opposed to on one central network. I won’t get too into the weeds on that.

We don’t get Web 3.0. We’ve tried. We’ve read things. I don’t get it.

It’s weird. I only started paying attention to it because I have to. This is where I’m at. I think about things becoming separated from one another. Peloton is amazing. I want everybody I know to buy a Peloton, but that’s also not feasible. Meaning, not everybody will have the same means. It is a privilege. It is an expensive product. If they’re leaning more into that, good for them.

I feel like they’re leaning less.

I agree.

They’re pushing the app as not lesser than.

It’s true. I didn’t think about the app.

They’ve also been AB testing what price is good for the various pieces of equipment, especially the bike. For a long time within the community, it was if you have the app, that’s cute, but you’re not a Peloton member to a lot of people.

That’s interesting.

I feel like that is changing. If someone were to have that elitist attitude towards an app user, they’d be much more apt to get shouted down.

I agree.

I think so, too. I was only thinking of the “elite.” A couple of months ago, we finally had a Peloton store in Birmingham, which is an hour from where I live. I went in there with my husband and my friend one time we were in Birmingham. I was like, “I’m at the Peloton store.” Both were trailing around behind me and they were like, “We feel really poor.”

It has a luxe vibe when you go into one of the stores.

That’s more of what I was talking about with the vibe. I completely agree with you. I have been meaning to try. I’m traveling again soon for the first time since they’ve launched the listen to the workouts. You can do Peloton Gym or whatever. I can’t remember what it’s called.

It’s Peloton Gym. You were right.

I need to try that. That feels a lot more accessible, too.

They’ve already made some tweaks to that to make that even better. You should do that. I love their outdoor workouts. They dropped seven new ones. I was so excited because usually, you only get 2 or 3 on a given day. When there were seven, I was like, “This is amazing.”

Do you have any thoughts about Peloton in terms of why the other fitness companies as much as they try to emulate what they’re doing keep what’s a polite way to say shitting the bed?

I do have a couple of thoughts on this. One of my other friends is deep into Orangetheory. We always talk about our fitness cults when we get together. We butt heads on who has the better fitness cult and who’s deeper in their fitness cult. I told her, “Does Orangetheory do day passes? I will come with you one time and try it out. I’m down.” I did and I went with her. I admit it was very fun. It was a great time, but I then thought about it in terms of what the difference is between this and Peloton.

I remember the Orangetheory instructor talking to me after class and giving me the full sales pitch to join. He was telling me, “I’m a high school science teacher. I work here a couple of times a week, coaching these classes.” I thought that was a cool way to be involved with your community. I was like, “That’s so different from Peloton.”

In Orangetheory, because you do have to physically go, you may get local well-known people in your community coaching your classes. That’s not going to extend from social media to celebrity to other forms of media the way Peloton does. It’s the same with SoulCycle. By virtue of having to be in a physical location and not having the streaming component that Peloton does, they miss out on tapping into this whole media environment to help build their brands. I know there are some others that try streaming classes, too, but they can’t compete with what Peloton has done.

Peloton has the virtue of being in a physical location and also having a streaming component. Share on X

They can’t get the quality. They can’t get the sheer volume.

The volume of content.

It has taken years for Peloton to get to that point. All the other companies were so far behind that they all jumped on the bandwagon. There was no way.

Peloton caught them sleeping. They were like, “This is what the industry is. We sell you a piece of equipment and we’re done with you.”

They’ve been doing the same.

Maybe I’m speaking way too generally, but everybody had an idea about what at-home fitness could be, and then Peloton was like, “We’re going to do it. We’re going to prop up our instructors and make them very visible.” You have to. If you are not going places, you have to compensate by building community in other ways. They succeeded through social media, these meet and greets, and all-for-one building this community in pretty novel ways.

As much grief as Peloton gets for “failing”, none of the other companies have produced a celebrity. Peloton has produced multiple celebrities. People who don’t even use Peloton probably know their names, like Cody Rigsby or Robin Arzon.

When I first got the Peloton, we were telling my in-laws. My mother-in-law was like, “Isn’t that Cody on Dancing with the Stars?”

There you go.

No other fitness brand has instructors that can lay claim to something like that.

It drives us nuts because we report on things week after week. We’ve been doing this for 6 years and going on 7.


Thank you. It’s crazy, the grief they get for every little thing. It’s so frustrating. Anything they do, everybody thinks they get to weigh in on it.

That’s true. People will always be like, “Your bike killed Mr. Big.” I was like, “Whiskeys, steaks, and being a serial womanizer killed Mr. Big. Thank you.”

She’s my people.

Unless a woman stabbed him, I don’t know that you can blame his death at the feet of womanizing. In spirit, I’m with you.

She has a point. He probably knew on some level womanizing was bad, which then caused stress which then exacerbated all the other conditions. Thank you very much.

The amount of times he was cheating on Carrie or cheating with Carrie causes some stress.

There you go.

Do you have a preferred instructor?

I take a lot of classes with Callie. My current leaderboard tag is Callie’sKillaCrew. I love her energy. I love her music. I pick my rides based on music. My class is typically based on the playlist. Sometimes, people are like, “You don’t pick it based on the athleticism?” I’m like, “I’m not that kind of exerciser. I’m here to exercise and have a good time.”

You’re moving. Whatever gets you to do it again is the right thing.

My friend taught Zumba when we were in grad school together. I had never taken a Zumba class. I went to hers. She had one rule in her class. That was whatever you do, don’t stop moving. It was like, “Even if you don’t do what I do, do the cabbage patch. Do something to stay moving and have fun.” To me, I feel that spirit of Peloton when they take your modification, which I like. Also, I love Ally. I love Tunde. I took a pop ride with Robin. That was the last one I did. That was pretty fun.

I feel like she picked the cabbage patch as a Gen X tick.

I know.

That was direct.

I heard it.

I was joking about being shocked and appalled before.

It’s real.

I’m an ageist.

We’re the generation that thinks all that is BS. We can’t even get mad about it even when we’re mad about it because we’re hypocrites.

That’s true.

We’re also the generation that are hypocrites. Turn that into a question.

I don’t know how you’re going to figure out where you stand with us.

I do remember what I was going to say before. I want to throw that out quickly. In your world of social media, you will like this quote. I say it to Crystal all the time, talking about how people rip on Peloton all the time. Here we go. You are not popular until people don’t like you.

I do a fair bit of media. I was talking to the New York Times. I was telling them, “You never want to be the internet’s main character. You never want to be the person, the company, or the thing everybody’s hating on.” Sometimes, people do questionable things that they probably shouldn’t do in public. Sometimes, people like to hate things. I don’t know. It’s fun to hate things. That is something about as a social media researcher.

I don’t call it cancel culture because what I’m about to talk about is a little different. I call it pile-on culture. Everybody likes to pile on when they see it happening. To me, it is one of the more concerning things about social media, and I know there’s a lot of concerning stuff out there. I feel like any time Peloton is in the news, it is fun to pile on Peloton because sometimes, it’s cool to dislike things and cool to hate pop culture things. I’m also a Swiftie. I’m used to people hating on my girl Taylor Swift.

One of the most concerning things about social media is that everybody likes to pile on something when they see it happening. Share on X

That’s a great example. I love Taylor Swift. Why are people so angry at her? She’s amazing. She’s so talented and adorable. I’ve been following her since her first album.

She seems like a genuinely nice human being.

What is wrong with people?

I went to TikTok and they were like, “I didn’t like how Taylor Swift was acting at the VMAs. This is not me being misogynistic. I’m a Swiftie.” I’m like, “This is my expert opinion. You don’t have to record every thought in your head and put it on the internet for starters.”


I will also piggyback. When you say you don’t want to be the Internet’s main character, you also don’t want to be their main character in a good way. That’s because at some point, if you get big enough, someone’s going to do a deep dive on you. You’ll have said something on Reddit years ago or you will have clicked like on some girl’s picture on Instagram and it’s all going to come crashing down.

In my Social Media and Society class, it gives me a fair bit of optimism whenever I teach that class. I talked to the Zoomers about this issue. I’m like, “How do you feel having lived your entire lives on the internet and now know you could be held accountable for a stupid thing you did at fourteen?” I don’t think that’s fair. We all had the privilege of our lives not being recorded for everybody and our mistakes not being recorded. There are some things that are horrific and should be reckoned with and grappled with, but a kid being drunk at a party in a picture with a red solo cup, in theory, should not derail a job opportunity.


It’s crazy.

What is your leaderboard name?

I am MadMaddox21. Find me on the leaderboard.

I love that.

That’s awesome. Thank you so much for joining us. This has been a lot of fun. This is my jam. I love talking about this stuff.

This has been awesome.

I’m glad we didn’t bore you because this is your work. I’m glad you weren’t more pop culture stuff.

The cool thing about my work is I get to do what I like for a living. When you add Peloton, this was fantastic.

Thank you so much for joining us. Before we let you go, let everybody know where you can be found on the interwebs, assuming you would like to be found.

I am @DrJessMaddox on Twitter. You can find me on the leaderboard as MadMaddox21. I also have a scholarly book but a book called The Internet is for Cats.

I have to buy that for my son. He loves cats.

He loves cats and the internet.

That can be found online at Amazon or through Rutgers University Press.

That’s wonderful.

Thank you so much for joining us. This has been a blast.

Thanks for having me.

I guess that brings this episode to a close. Until next time, where can people find you?

People can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/crystaldokeefe. They can find me on all of the socials and the leaderboard @ClipOutCrystal. I just realized we never told people where to meet us for the meetup this weekend. Nobody listens this far in. They’re never going to know.

The true fans will.

Yeah, but they’re not in London. I mean that statistically.

It drops off. We will post it on Facebook.

It’s already posted.

This comes out on Friday.

That’s fair. It’s the next day.

You can find me in places too. Can you tell we’re focused right now? You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or on Facebook at Facebook.com/tomokeefe. You can find the show online on Facebook.com/TheClipOut. Don’t forget our Patreon at Patreon.com/TheClipOut because you sure don’t want to pay to hear extra stuff from us when we’re killing it like this right now.

We’re going to record that tomorrow. It’ll be better.

That’s it for this one. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, keep pedaling and running and rowing.


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