Faster, more efficient data collection: Self-optimization against digital overload


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Less efficiency increase, more serenity through a more self-determined life? By the way: The followers of the Quantified Self movement do exactly the opposite: More efficiency through self-optimization with technical aids. Another future vision?

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Mindfulness vs. Quantified Self

Mindfulness, self-love and work-life balance are currently major trends. Many people want less and more relaxed work, more of life and its social environment, friends and family. It is not for nothing that digital detox seminars and silence miners are booming in the monastery. It almost seems like a counter reaction to the digital overload, which more and more people are complaining about.

And then there is the total opposite: quantified self. Even if the founder of the website QuantifiedSelf.com, the journalist Gary Wolf (who already co-founded Wired Magazine) lives in Berkley, California, next to San Francisco, the nucleus, New York seems to be the secret capital of the Quantified Self followers be:

New York as the stronghold of the Quantified Self

While membership in other cities varies between 80 and 300, there are 650 members in New York. And that fits into the picture: New York is the city in which no jogger would ever pause at the traffic lights (but on the spot weitertrippelt), in the fruit and salad in small portions as fast food is sold.

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And it is the metropolis that pays off otherwise by a particularly brisk busyness, which has a noticeable effect on your own pulse rate. I experienced it a few years ago: New York took me along, but after a few days I needed a break.

Gain more knowledge about yourself through data collection

The friends of Quantified Self are now doing the exact opposite: They believe in “Self knowledge through numbers”: They count calories, the times they have run for X kilometers, when they ate how much and even how many people they slept with to have.

For example, it says “Joost Plattel quantifies 67% of his life. His dataset has 40,000 data points. " Aids are computers, the Internet and, above all, smartphones. If I then look at the popularity of self-tracking apps, with which you can record your sporting activities, for example, it shows that this type of self-optimization is by no means to be laughed at.

Data collection: step to the perfect person?

Ostensibly, it's about collecting data about yourself, as well as that Company like google do. Gary Wolf is quoted as saying that it is only fair to know as much about yourself as Google or Facebook already do. That sounds harmless, but there is actually more to it, because the self-trackers not only collect their data to keep an overview: They also evaluate this data and compare it with one another.

The social network Daytum helps them. What's on the start page: DAYTUM HELPS YOU COLLECT, CATEGORIZE AND COMMUNICATE YOUR EVERYDAY DATA. Users decide what data to track and how they want to categorize it. But that's not all: There are also various methods available, such as these tracking results could represent - such as bar graph or pie chart.

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Do not confuse cause and effect

Exactly at the point for me the thing begins to be questionable. It makes sense to me that somebody knows himself well and wants to understand his own actions and actions as much as possible. Just as some people keep a household book on their expenses so as not to spend too much money.

However, one must also ask oneself to what extent this exact knowledge then influences the actions. For example, if I keep track of how fast I run, I do not just do that to know, I just want to get better. That may be an incentive to improve performance. But when I'm obsessively focused on the results, the ultimate goal of improving health and well-being quickly fades into the background. It's all about the improvement of the numbers, hardly the thing itself.

From "I have more than you!" until depression

This effect gets worse if you not only keep the results to yourself, but also share them with others. Of course, you can also give each other tips in this way that may help with self-optimization. But ultimately, especially when you compare numbers that are clearly numbered, there is only one question: The question "Who has more?" We already know this competitive thinking from other social networks.

Now the desire to compare yourself with others may be deeply human. In other words: competition stimulates business. There seem to be clear statements behind the figures. But how useful they are is rarely questioned. And many can be put under pressure by the constant comparison in social networks. It's like this “My House, My Car, My Boat” ad: Who has the most parties, has the most friends, or climbs the most 8000ers? In the USA, this has already resulted in a new clinical picture, the Facebook-Depression. It treats people who have fewer friends in social networks than others and who feel inferior as a result.

Self-optimized or externally determined?

It seems to me that if you measure almost all of your life in numbers and release it for comparison, then in the end, any retreat option is missing, if it does not work that way. Because nobody can be the best or the best everywhere. Perpetual entente and constant stress up to the burnout seems almost inevitably the result of it. The self-optimizing person is thus very far away from a self-determined life, because he soon only after the compulsion to meet the target, nachhehechelt. What a sad idea!

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Self-optimization - that sounds promising, because in this way you can supposedly make the best out of yourself. Ultimately, however, this seemingly perfect human being is the first step into dependency and a life destined for others, in which one lags behind only one ideal. I would rather not experience something like that!


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  1. Francesca Maniccia

    Time is getting tighter and better in today's hectic daily work routine. Here your page really helps with a lot of information.

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