[community] Tracking and recording, or choosing not to track and record

Shahi, Sepideh sshahi at ocadu.ca
Thu Jul 28 16:32:04 UTC 2016

Hi Alan,
I have never been very successful or motivated to track my personal data. In several instances, I have tried to track different things about my life like how much water I drink every day, but I have quickly stopped because the collected data did not reveal anything more than what I already knew about myself. and sharing that data with others didn’t make me feel more motivated, instead it made feel more pressured to change my habits.

However, I am very interested in tracking the little social interactions that happen around me. I have no idea about how or why these interactions happen and tracking them fulfills my sense of curiosity. For example, On my commute to work (combination of bus and subway ride), I have noticed that people start offering me their seats once they realize I am pregnant. I've became really interested in this social interaction and wanted to discover how/why this happens. So I started tracking the age, gender and ethnicity of the person who offers his/her seat, time of the day (whether it’s in the morning rush or afternoon after work), mode of transportation (subway or bus) and context of that person at the moment of this social exchange (are they with others or alone, etc.). There were no apps or digital tools to help me track all of these variables, so I just tried to make a note on a piece of paper every time this happened and keep a mental track of things. Although the results would not change anything in my life and I can’t do anything with my highly generalized and subjective data, it would help me get a better understanding of what’s happening around me, it’s fun, engaging and surprising every day.

I hope this helps




T: 416 977 6000 x3951
E: sshahi at ocadu.ca<mailto:sshahi at ocadu.ca>


On Jul 26, 2016, at 12:02 PM, Harnum, Alan <aharnum at ocadu.ca<mailto:aharnum at ocadu.ca>> wrote:

Hello inclusive design community,

Part of the Inclusive Design Research Centre's work on Preference Exploration and Self-Assessment (https://wiki.fluidproject.org/display/fluid/%28Floe%29+Preference+Exploration+and+Self-Assessment) is revolving around metrics, journaling and other "self-tracking" activities. We're obviously interested in a wide variety of dimensions around this and thought we'd throw some questions out to the community…

So if you're comfortable sharing or otherwise have some thoughts along these lines, we're curious about questions like:

 1.  What kinds of things do you journal or track about your life?
 2.  What kinds of tools (digital or analog) do you use to do so?
 3.  What kinds of journaling or tracking have you tried and abandoned, and why?
 4.  Are there things you have considered or wanted to track, but haven't? What kept/keeps you from doing so?
 5.  What kinds of things do you have strong feelings about not tracking, and why?

I'll share one from my end to start off: I track my dreams, and have on and off for about fifteen years now. I record:

 1.  A basic description of what happened in the dream.
 2.  Basic type of dream: good, neutral, nightmare
 3.  Keywords for elements or themes that appear (especially if they're recurring ones) like:
    *   House I grew up in
    *   Failure in school
    *   Superheroes

I do this partly because I find it an interesting window into my unconscious mind but also because I have a number of friends who are also interested in their dreams, and we like to talk about them.


E aharnum at ocadu.ca<mailto:aharnum at ocadu.ca><mailto://aharnum@ocadu.ca>

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