Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Data Driven Life - The emerging self-tracking movement

"One of the reasons that self-tracking is spreading widely beyond the technical culture that gave birth to it is that we all have at least an inkling of what’s going on out there in the cloud. Our search history, friend networks and status updates allow us to be analyzed by machines in ways we can’t always anticipate or control. It’s natural that we would want to reclaim some of this power: to look outward to the cloud, as well as inward toward the psyche, in our quest to figure ourselves out."

This is from an article in The New York Times by Wired's Gary Wolf. I do a bit of self-tracking myself, but the people mentioned in this article take it to the limit. Ben Lipkowitz's life-logging project logs everything he's done in the last 5 years in categories. People are tracking time in 2-minute segments, tracking every idea one has had in the last decade, tracking their physical location using GPS. This is way beyond what we would normally see in Facebook entries and on Twitter. Looks like we have a whole new field of data analytics emerging.

I track things in the hope that I can analyze the data some day in the future and perhaps learn things about myself. I had no idea that there were so many other self-trackers, and these people are obsessed. Check out the fascinating article.

1 comment:

_Ashish said...

Check out this blog entry for more on self-tracking -- .

While not as extreme, I am a bit of a self-tracker myself so this is a very fascinating.