With the smart phones in our pockets, companies are constantly collecting data about our lives and forming a picture of who we are. They use this data to tailor advertising, entice us to buy things, provide information to other companies and many other profitable means.
What if we used that very same data to benefit our own lives and profit from it ourselves? I had heard of those wristbands Nike released to calculate…whatever, but there are a variety of digital devices and apps that monitor sleep, heart rate, fitness, mood, diet, spending that provide an incredibly detailed analysis of information collected. There are even tools that help bosses monitor employees and their movements at work.
These new tools are changing our sense of self, enabling individuals to have a better self-awareness and be conscious of self-improvement techniques. We have to get to know ourselves better in order to make positive changes to our lives, which is what this data-collecting can do (Lupton, 2013).
Ginger.io is just one of the companies that aims to help researchers, healthcare providers and individuals to learn and use the data collected on individual people to better their lives. They use the data collected to map patterns, and produce research from the large amounts of data produced by individuals everyday – with their permission, of course.
There is also a role for Social networks to assist people in collaborating and contribute that information that they collect and form communities.
This data is being collected about us anyway (why is no one else as freaked out about Google Now?!) so we should take advantage of it and use it to our advantage.
Here is a list of some of the best personal data tools out there.