Inspired in part by Quantified Self 2012, the team at Wikilife is embarking on a set of social self-experiments. Tracking personal data fundamentally changes the way we understand and proactively improve health. A next generation evolution of quantified self is organizing data collection by means of experiments, whereby an individual hypothesizes that two or more metrics are related to one another and together influence some aspect of personal health. For example, how does exercise activity influence sleep or does traveling exacerbate allergies? Answers to these questions are likely different for each individual, which is why quantified self is valuable in this context. By tracking multiple metrics for a period of time, you can better understand your personal health and the way your body works. Wikilife is an ideal platform for this as it allows users to input and organize any type of data. Read our experiments below and then share your thoughts and experiments in the comments section.
Amy: I'm going to track exercise and sleep. I think I sleep more if I've exercised during a day. It would also be interesting to see how many days I don't exercise. Hopefully this will help me start doing it more!
Juan: I have a problem on my left knee, so I will be tracking knee pain, ibuprofen intake, ice application, and physical activity. This will help me understand how much physical activity I can do, and how much care I need to provide to my knee.
Michelle: I recently noticed that I have had more headaches than usual. I have been drinking more coffee than usual. My experiment is to track my coffee intake and my headaches.
Bobby: I have been tracking my water intake. I find that it has a dynamic effect on my body- altering my mood, energy, appetite, etc. Also, for the entire month of October, I will be eliminating dairy, grains and processed foods from my diet- and observing my weight and BMI each week. Eventually, I would like to start reintroducing each of these variables, separately, to examine their effect on my body.
Joaquin: I am having problems with my sleep and want to know if my stress level is related to sleep quality. I will log stress level and mood 5 times per day and after a week compare it with sleep duration and quality.
Maria B.: I have chronic dermatitis on my elbows and think emotional stress is the main cause of my rush. I think it may also be related to dairy consumption so I will track this in order to see if there is an attenuation of my symptoms.
Maria C.: I have a lot of muscle pain and I believe it is relates to the sleep time. I will track sleep time and pain intensity and bring this information to my doctor. Perhaps he will be able to use this data to make more personalized recommendations.
Sonia: I have noticed my morning latte coffee makes me feel queasy. I want to find out if it is related to the coffee, milk or the combination of both, so I will try for several days changing my morning beverage and tracking the effects on my body.
Pia: I suffer from seasonal allergies and have a hunch that they get worse during the weekends when I leave town to visit my family. I am going to track my allergy symptoms and my activities to see if there is a real correlation between the places I go and the things I do with my allergies.
We will post periodic updates on the Wikilife Social Self-Experiment. Check back in the next couple of weeks to hear what we've learned and how our experiments evolve.