Friday, 3 April 2009

Personal Informatics


This new online-personal tool has been in the press quite a bit lately. We stumbled across it in the paper, and Howies mentioned it in their links (Which must mean its cool).

Personal informatics is the process of individuals logging and mapping their daily activity on the web. This sounds obsessive and several steps further than the 'info' page on one's Facebook, but I perhaps think it could be a reaction to the ever-increasingly competitive online social networking environment, or perhaps just a great way to keep track of your habits and spending in a recession.

I don't have the time or patience to log all my daily routines and what I've been consuming, but I sometimes find myself looking back to what I was doing a year ago today, or daydreaming into what my favourite meal in London was. Its just human nature to be retrospective, which is perhaps why this is taking off.

However, some informatics are easier to track than others, and one system which develops this is called happyfactor; an online tool which monitors your happiness by sending you text messages at intervals throughout the day, asking you to rate your happiness from 1-10. From this, happiness time lines can be mapped which tell you when during what day your happiest, and after what activities.

This is where we think it gets really exciting. Instead of mapping your life events for their own sake, how useful can this become in terms of mapping your psychological behaviour and reactions to certain stimuli? A psychological line can also be drawn between this and some cognitive behavioural techniques.

This is the guy who tracked everything for a year, and his graphical representations look amazing.

To get started, have a look at Daytum.

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