Quantified Self in the Washington Post

In the discussion following my previous post about FlowingData's self-surveillance contest, JAHKNOW kindly points us to a Washington Post article from yesterday about the quantified self, BB pal Gary Wolf's notion that you can examine your own body through a data-driven scientific lens. The article mentions sites to help you track sex acts, menstruation, exercise, and a variety of other activities and functions. From the Washington Post:

Members (of the Bay Area "quantified self show and tell" group) plan to meet monthly to share with one another the tools and sites they've found helpful on their individual paths to self-digitization. Topics include, according to the group invite: behavior monitoring, location tracking, digitizing body info and non-invasive probes.

"Don't you think it's kind of obvious that if you step on a scale, there should be something that sends the information to your computer?" asks Gary Wolf, a contributing editor at Wired magazine and one of Quantified Self's co-founders. "Isn't it ridiculous to think that blood pressure shouldn't be measured at least once a day, if not several times a day?"

Wolf is a tracker whose particular interest is the secret workings of his own body.

You listen to his questions — posed energetically and frequently interrupted by excited laughter — and you think No, Gary, no!

Most of us would prefer our scale's number never saw light of day, much less light of database.

At some level, Wolf knows this. He theorizes that the impulse to self-track is one part available technology, one part geeky, data-driven personality. So far, only 10 people have RSVP'd affirmatively to Quantified Self's first meeting, which is scheduled to take place mid-September. "This is," Wolf says, "probably a very small subset of humanity."

"Bytes of Life" (WashingtonPost.com)

Previously on BB:
FlowingData's personal viz contest winner
Seth Roberts' fascinating self-experiments