The Future of Activity Tracking

I’ve been thinking a lot about fitness trackers, wearable technology, and the data they capture to help users live better lives.

For the last 20 years people have been living two dimensions of their lives. First is the in-real-life (IRL) version. Second is the less authentic version that we portray on digital media.

Now, thanks to smart-phones and wearable devices, we are also starting to develop two versions of our activity level. The first is how active we perceive ourselves to be IRL. The second is how active our data tells us we actually are. Interestingly (and amusingly), our perception of our activity is likely closer to our false, digital-presence, and our data is closer to our real self.

As a user of activity tracking services I’ve been generally disappointed to find that data without context only creates more questions. Frequently I’m wondering what caused the fluctuations in otherwise consistent patterns. The questions are good to ask yourself, but the goal of tracking your life is answers, not more questions, and that has me thinking about the value of tracking all this data in the first place. That along with a concern many people have about the increasing amount of data we are trying to personally manage. If data is not going to give me a deeper picture of myself what is the point of constantly looking back and wondering why I didn’t do something better?

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Questions and comments are of course welcome.

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