The “Measured Life”: A Belief Worth Counting?

baby quantify

There was a time when the idea of everyone having a personal computer seemed out of this world.  Everyone knows that perception was proven wrong and shortly following, tablets were doubted as well to replace the  desktop computer.  Oh… how times have changed.  Haven’t consumers learned their lesson yet to  never sell technology short?  Today, parents can now measure their baby’s health through data in real time.  It’s a new trend which has married itself to the notion of “The Quantified Self Movement” and taken shape as a new belief in measuring ones life. Like many, the movement has its skeptics, many claiming that it would never extend beyond ‘geeks’ or those ‘weirdly self absorbed” consumers who obsessed over their own personal data.  However, the truth of the matter is that this new movement has turned mainstream, and brands like Nike + are helping shape the narrative.

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In 2009 only two news articles appeared mentioning “The Quantified Self”: one in the AmericanLife Science Weekly that reported a study on the relevance to healthcare of self-tracking, and the other in the Canadian Globe and Mail that discussed “The Quantified Self Movement” and people involved in it. But today the number of articles published has risen to over 188 news articles discussing the quantified self.

The movement has gained popularity at an accerlerated pace…but WHY?

The idea of measuring things to chart progress towards a goal is commonplace in large corporations, companies measure their turnover, profits and inventory.  Suprisingly, technology has found a way to marry data with self improvement- which has caused consumers in believing they have the ability to control of their health—a concept and approach which has been clearly adopted by fitness fanatics, technology evangelists, personal-development junkies, hackers and patients who suffer from a wide variety of health problems.

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Self-tracking may look a little over the top for some or even geeky, epecially with parents now tracking their new borns with data analytics but the same was once true of e-mail and the personal computer. And what geeks do today, the rest of us often end up doing tomorrow.

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