It seems inevitable that someone will create a lifestreaming hub for your personal activity data that allows you to capture and own your data (either before or after it is published). Here’s a collection of thoughts that have been bubbling in my brain for a while.
- Tracking numerical stats about yourself (weight, steps) can create a positive reinforcing effect.
- Sensors are necessary to track the data nearly automatically (too much effort for humans to enter it).
- Gamification can provide a small boost, but mostly it’s about making the metrics visible.
- Relatively little quantified self data needs or wants to be social. It’s personal. It’s best to compete against yourself.
- The primary reasons for sharing is to celebrate (“I just finished an 8 mile run”) or to have accountability (“Who wants to do the run with me”).
- It is almost always more convenient to let a company store and manage my data (tumblr beats wordpress, Twitter beats identica, Facebook beats diaspora).
- Pattern recognition applied to sensor data can identify some activities and some devices are more accurate than others.
- WordPress won the open source hosted blog battle by providing plugin architecture.
- As we get more sensors to track our well being, it will be harder for us to aggregate our own personal data.
- As we’ve seen with photos and documents, standard formats don’t come along very often.
- Corporations often limit access to data collected by their applications (Twitter, Nike)
- Getting and keeping our own copy of our data (backup) is difficult.
- Installing and maintaining your own server is difficult (DNS, security updates, hosting)
- There are not many human wearable sensors with enough battery life, but they are rapidly improving.
Solutions (some ideas)
- Create a SoundHound for phone sensor data (accelerometer, gyroscope) that can learn and identify physical activities during a sensor recording session.
- Lifestream aggregator applications (path, Everymove, pubwhich, rebelmouse, thinkup, busterbenson.com)
- Personal data and status-update hub. Despite its difficulties in update and installation, WordPress rose to prominence because 1) Everybody needs a web site. 2) The specification for serving a blog was simple. 2) it supported plugins. 3) It was open source. Also, it was relatively simple, and it was built for an existing fan base. A push-button domain name (or CNAME) configuration and application install may be necessary – even for those that want to host their own data.