Keeping track of statistics is quite a useful activity. We’ve done it for various aspects: recording the scores obtained on tests to better oneself, keeping a track of the weight to see whether you’re gaining or losing, monthly expenses and income statistics – numbers and data has become an integral part and parcel of our lives.
Probably this is the reason why the Lifelogging movement has gained so much momentum in the past couple of years. The activity of making a roster and maintaining it by adding suitable statistics has enabled Lifeloggers to keep a close eye on whatever is going on within their bodies. Not only that, active feedback in the form of health statistics and data graphs, not to mention the community involvement, makes the returns factor on Lifelogging very high.
And this brings me to the focal point of my article here: How Lifelogging is proving to be an effective method of improving lives in a quantified manner!
THE LIFELOGGING CYCLE
From a technical viewpoint, Lifelogging as an activity comprises of several steps : gathering data, storing the data, analysing the data and displaying it to the end user in the form of relevant and valuable information.
However, Lifelogging from a user’s perspective is somewhat different, and much more simple.
This is the crux of the concept of Lifelogging in general : keeping a track of the user’s statistics in terms of sleep patterns, fitness streaks, emotional vibes and a whole lot more in terms of measurable variables. In the form of quantifiable, relevant numbers, this makes the user aware of his/her statistics in the regard.
Based on the statistics recorded, the user might want to alter or modify some elements in his/her lifestyle. This can be broadly termed as Experimentation on the user’s end, wherein the user experiments with modifications which might better the results obtained from the ‘Self Awareness’ step.
Finally, the user picks a lifestyle mode which turns out to be better. The factor of betterness is measured by the quantifiable evidence that is provided by the Lifelogging instruments, aka wearable and/or tracking devices.
The paradox of life is that it is quite subjective : the purposes and goals differ from person to person. Then how can Lifelogging enable a multitude of users to achieve their goals, one might ask.
It’s simple. Lifelogging in the terms of Qualitative Data comes to the aid here. By Qualitative, I’m meaning Quantifiable numbers that are actually recorded, plus the element of Context. Not only will the numbers be recorded, but also the conditions influencing those numbers. More favourable conditions will help in generating better numbers, and that provides a seamless approach to defining the life objectives.
For people suffering from a disease or condition, Lifelogging can be the path to a constant system of betterment. Building upon the information that is collected from the user depending upon the fitness statistics or other health factors, Lifelogging can be a sure shot method of assessing which days gave good stats and which days gave stats which were not so favourable.
Why might this be important? The user will definitely want to have more ‘good stats’ on his/her side. Lifelogging records not just the statistics (effects) but also the conditions (cause). Therefore, the user will want to emulate more conducive conditions that might better the statistics, and ergo might just improve the health by a huge extent.
Writing in a diary is passé, Lifelogging takes into account the data collected from a host of wearable sensors and fitness trackers.
With the added advantage of data aggregation services, multi platform availability and more developers getting into the activity of developing Lifelogging applications to track data as obscure as dreams and brain activity, more information comes to the user, by which his/her life can be made better.
Lifelogging has the power to influence lives for the better, but it cannot be done without the user’s active participation. The entire system works on a ’cause and effect’ relation, wherein keeping track of data and delivering it to the user is the cause, and the user’s ability to understand the data and accordingly modify his/her lifestyle is the effect.
Nonetheless, Lifelogging is a powerful tool by itself, and it is bound to become much more popular and powerful in the time to come!