Trying Daytum: Why Self-Tracking Just Ain't Doin' the Job

This afternoon I was typing an email to a new contact at Brute Labs in Mountain View, an awesome nonprofit that's partnered with Red Rock to launch Run! There, a geo-relevant social health program for collaborative run tracking in the MV area. 

Our new #getupandmove buddy asked us if we'd seen Daytum.org. I replied that I used it last year to track things like sleep (or lack thereof), alcohol/caffeine intake. In fact, in that reply I finally hit on a relatively simple explanation of just throwing up personal biometric data all over a user doesn't necessarily drive 'healthy' behavior change.

Here's the transcript. After reading, chime in. Do you agree? Disagree? Does seeing data that hammers home how 'unhealthy' you allow yourself to be (for 'lifestyle' related conditions; many of us have chronic conditions that are outside our individual scope of choice + control) REALLY help you make better decisions?

"In fact, using Daytum helped me realize one of the biggest challenges with visualizations of health/wellness data...how to get people to change? Turns out it isn't about the data for most folks.

In health/healthcare we tend to assume (erroneously) that just by presenting data a person will become self aware and make better, healthier choices.

I found that is often NOT true, in fact, sometimes it's the opposite: If you don't like what the data shows you (a lack of delta, you're not improving) you do NOT change your behaviors - you simply shut off the data stream. That's what I did when Daytum calculated my average caffeine intake....

I now think about it this way. One of the best forms of information architecture for health is the typical American bathroom. In most, you can't avoid that vanity mirror, that startling light. If all it took to make us change our behaviors to 'get healthy' was a datastream, wouldn't the daily visual view of our bodies in the bathroom mirror halt most of us from overeating? I'll be blunt - most of us don't wake up obese one morning...our weight is often the cumulative effect of daily microchoices. Seeing the data, even literally right in front of our faces, that we are not making healthy choices is just the first step.


Figuring out how to provide real time, location-oriented, social decision-support in an n=1 personal context for each individual user is the challenge (and promise) of social health, and it's precisely what we're working on with #getupandmove.

Thanks for working on it with us, guammies. Sometimes seeing the data just ain't enough, and playing with your self-tracking gets lonely after awhile...:)

Posted via web from Get Up and Move

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