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Alternative Visions for Interpersonal, Messy, Accountability-Oriented Self-Tracking

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HAVE YOU DONE YOUR STEPS TODAY?

Did you eat right today? What was your productivity percentage? Did you sleep enough? Earn enough? Exercise enough? There are self-tracking tools for all of these questions. With our FitBit, Apple Watch, or any number of wearables and digital products, we’re told that we can track “everything” about ourselves. But beyond our steps, beyond our calories, what do these products actually track? They track the selfoptimizing individual. They focus inwards, tracking our individual gains, our ability to discipline our bodies, to become more efficient, more productive, most optimal. This booklet presents an alternative vision for selftracking. If self-tracking has the potential to gives us the receipts for personal reflection, what else could we track for other than our own, never-ending pursuit of personal perfection?


what we currently self-track for

A demystification of your body and your activities a generalized, universal user individual health focus optimization, productivity, efficiency


what we could track for instead

B revealing unconscious bias a particular, subjective user community health focus accountability, recognition, repair


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ocial Media and the Accounting of Everyday Life


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the o det collec

discrete self-tracking concepts for m


k presents

office tox ction

materializing bias in the workplace


Studies show that unconscious bias in the office continues to be a challenge. Power and privilege in our working environments can be manifested in who has a voice, who is seen and who gets heard.


The Office Detox Collection is a line of discrete, interpersonal self-trackers dreamt up to materialize unconscious bias and address all too common genderbased dynamics.


the interruption tracker

Tracking Interruptions Uses pitch, volume and frequency measurements to track instances of interruptions Interruption Differentiation Differentiates between collaborative (e.g. “yeah, right”) and competitive interruptions Interruptions x Demographic Syncs with calendar and company directory to let you know who you tend to interrupt Live Feedback Mode (optional) Tracker can vibrate once you’ve reached a certain number of interruptions that day


the eye contact tracker & chair swiveller

Tracking Eye Contact Uses eye tracking, AI and spatial audio mapping to track your eye contact both when you are speaking and when someone else is speaking Eye Contact x Demographic Syncs with your calendar and company directory to let you know who you tend to make eye contact with Live Feedback Option: the Chair Swiveller A clip on for your chair, the swiveller will rotate your office chair based on your eye contact patterns in order to ensure that you practice inclusive eye contact


the space taking tracker & personal symphony earbud Tracking Conversation Dominance Uses voice recognition and volume to tell you how much airtime you take up in collaborative settings, as well as if you tend to go on monologues of a certain length Dominance x Demographic Syncs with calendar and company directory to let you know who you dominate the conversation with Live Feedback Option: Personal Symphony Earbud (PSE) Much like how a symphony starts playing when an acceptance speech has gone on too long at an awards show, the PSE will begin to play you a song when you’ve gone on too long


feedback & data collection “You tend to go on monologues that can last up to 6 minutes.”

“You give the least eye contact to the speaker when meeting with people junior to you.”

No-Numbers Feedback Use of each tracker starts with a 5-day baselining period, during which the tracker gets a sense of your conversational style. Once this baselining period is over, you’ll receive an email that outlines some of your habits. Your feedback won’t be in absolute numbers - instead, you’ll get feedback relative to you.


“You use a lot of collaborative interruptions with your colleagues - but your interruptions become competitive when meeting with women of similar seniority�

Who Tracks the Data We feel that the person tracking the data should be the person who needs to be more aware of their behaviour. The onus falls on you to hold yourself accountable - not the people around you. This data is not aggregated. It is not sent to your boss. This is data about you, for you.


Digital tec can take m and have m depending up and economi bring the Shoshana Zuboff, author of The


chnologies many forms many effects, pon the social ic logics that em to life. Age of Surveillance Capitalism


STRETCHING THE WINDOW Sociologist Deborah Lupton wrote, “The very act of self-tracking is already a performance of a certain type of subject: the entrepreneurial, self-optimizing subject.” By challenging the social logics and embedded values at play, self-tracking doesn’t just have to be about that. In a 2019 talk by writer and artist James Bridle, he commented that there is a small window during which we can critically engage with a technology before that technology is taken over by capital - before its applications become normative and homogenized. As designers, makers, product developers, and consumers of technology, how can we stretch this window? How can we imagine and produce a greater plurality of applications? If our devices are not only consumer products but also social artefacts, can a values-first approach allow us to work more critically and creatively with self-tracking and other technologies? This booklet proposes one alternative vision. There could be many others. What would yours be?


more at medium.com/off-track


Profile for aqdinh

off / track: Alternative Visions for Interpersonal, Messy, Accountability-Oriented Self-Tracking  

What else can we self-track for, other than our own never-ending pursuit of personal perfection?

off / track: Alternative Visions for Interpersonal, Messy, Accountability-Oriented Self-Tracking  

What else can we self-track for, other than our own never-ending pursuit of personal perfection?

Profile for aqdinh
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