The quantified self: Tackling personal analytics

The quantified self, or personal analytics, is the concept of tracking your daily interactions and the outcomes of those interactions. All of this data adds up to be your personal analytics, or the analytics about you. 

It's normal to keep track of the food we consume, the amount of exercise we complete, our blood pressure or whether or not we are fertile for conception, but of course we now have a technological component to everything we do so we can leave behind a data trail that can help us understand what all of this means.  

Quantified self keeps a list of the various tools you can use to track your personal analytics. They categorize them by cost and what they measure. This is a heavenly list. 

And Stephen Wolfram has extremely detailed notes on his personal analytics. Though I would never take the time to be this detailed, I am thrilled by the idea that there are people who are. 

If I had the data to view my personal analytics, you would find:

  • I do my best thinking in the morning - before 9:00 am. A lot of writing happens then. 
  • I used to use the Internet a lot while watching TV. I no longer do that. 
  • I will go days without using my smartphone as a phone. 
  • The texts to my sister usually happen in collections of 30-50. 

Read more about Wolfram's thoughts on personal analytics and get an overview of his Facebook Analytics tool. 

Without that, I would have never know that I have 16 friends named David and 16 named Jason.

Frequency of the names of my friends on Facebook.

Frequency of the names of my friends on Facebook.

Or been able to compare my word cloud to Karen Ingram's word cloud.  

Karen Ingram's word cloud

Karen Ingram's word cloud

My word cloud. See how often I used Karen Ingram? Those who know me know I am crazy about my sister. 

My word cloud. See how often I used Karen Ingram? Those who know me know I am crazy about my sister. 

For other "interesting" data points. Here's a map that shows how international my friends are. And I now know that Nathan Burazer lives the furthest from me, and Cassie Thornburg lives the closest to the date line.

Can you tell I wasted a lot of time pulling reports? It was a total blast. You can do it, too.