Lifelogging and Wearable Technology-Science Fiction Trend or something more?

Lifelogging sounds like a word out of an old science fiction movie but what does it actually mean and how might it be something that I complete without even realizing it. The week I am looking at whether I am creating an accidental lifelog through my own usage of social media. I will also be touching on the idea of the connection between wearable technology and lifelogging, along with what my interest in wearable technology is. While these areas all sound like something from the future, they might actually become a part of your daily life sooner then you think.

What is a Lifelog?

To start off, lets first define what a Lifelog is. When I first heard the word lifelog, I thought more of somebody using a Fitbit or Google Glass to track their health progress but this idea does not cover fully what a lifelog is. A lifelog is defined by Cathal Gurrin and Yang Yang as “the process that records personal data generated from everyday life activities.” This definition while covering what my initial idea of lifelogging is about; describes a much more broader definition, which is not limited by technology.

So how does this tie into Wearable Technology?

Wearable technology is considered one of the easiest ways for a person to lifelog their experiences. An article in the Economist discusses how a pin sized camera (Narrative Clip) is able to “take photographs every 30 seconds, ensuring that no experience–however mundane–will go undocumented.” This idea is potentially terrifying to some users but highlights a way for the user to lifelog their own life. With these sort of products on the market, Wearable technology is quickly becoming the easiest way for a user to keep a lifelog and previously where a physical journal might have been used, an electronic one is taking its place.

What does Wearable Technology mean to me?

I am fascinated by the area of Wearable Technology and I am always exploring it within my university degree and my own time. My love affair with Wearable technology started when I was a first year at university. My very first assessment was a report on a new area which was emerging around this time. There was multiple options to choose from but one of those caught my eye, that being The Pebble. The Pebble was one of the first Wearable technology watches to break into the main stream market. In 2012, they completed the first Kickstarter of their kind earning the spot for most funded Kickstarter ever, this was then taken over by their latest Kickstarter this year for Pebble Time. Even still the original Pebble, still currently sits in third place for the most funded Kickstarter. While I never have used a Pebble, I liked the idea of viewing the information quickly and easily, while also being able to use my phone hands free

What do I use to lifelog my own life?

This connection to Wearable technology has meant that when the topic of Quantified self-came up, I found it incredibly interesting. While I do not actively use wearable technology and as an extension, social media to create a record of myself. I have previously read about the idea and always found it fascinating. I  have kept various creativity journals either technology based or non; and currently use photos as a way of observing and recording events that happen in my life. Often these photos are not connected or posted to social media. Instead I have physically printed and posted them on my own map of the world; usually to represent where this photo was taken or the nationality of the person in the photo. As I have found I have a poor memory and struggle to remember things, these photos represent moments where I remember being happy and have a fantastic memory of that time.

2015-04-26 15.40.35

My own map showing off various photos

How wearable technology can be used in lifelogging

This is similar to products mentioned by Mike Elgan, who discusses a range of applications and various items which may be used in lifelogging. While I do not utilize the GPS tracking on my phone, my camera acts in a similar vain to the idea that the Narrative Clip has. Instead of having to physically take a picture, it is a device which records whatever it views from its spot on your clothing. The reason lifelogging is becoming appealing as Mike states, “is that good memories are pleasurable and lifelogging improves them.”

Issues with Lifelogging

One of the major reasons I do not share these photos with my social media account is privacy issues, as I tend to be a private person the idea of someone viewing these special moments without my permission, makes me uncomfortable. As I do occasionally use Facebook to post photos, I looked up their privacy policy to gain a better understanding of who might be able to access my photos and personal details. Facebook’s privacy policy states “We want our advertising to be as relevant and interesting as the other information you find on our Services. With this in mind, we use all of the information we have about you to show you relevant ads.” This concerns me a great deal and it is one of the reasons, that I have been slowly moving away from Facebook; as I dislike the idea of somebody being able to look at my personal information without my permission. I also currently use Dropbox, so to make sure that my privacy was being protected by them, I looked up their private policy as well. Dropbox’s privacy policy states that “When you use our Services, you provide us with things like your files, content, email messages, contacts and so on (“Your Stuff”). Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your Stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Services.” This I was pleasantly surprised to read, as it gave me a lot more confidence about what they were doing in relation to my privacy.

The issues of Privacy is a large issue when it comes Lifelogging; as is stated by Nigel Shadbolt who says  “there are likely to be privacy concerns about lifelogging practice and technology, and indeed these concerns are already being raised.” This statement is continued and expanded on later in the report where the author states that “LifeLog’s difficulties are indicative of the strength of privacy fears when the funding body is not trusted by a potential user community.” As I do not trust the Facebook Company, I would prefer to keep my own Lifelog minus the social and collaborative aspect of this area. But as I feel lot more confident about what Dropbox is doing with my files, I will continue to use them until I see evidence that this is no longer the case. I also further expanded my experience in the area, when I had a go at lifelogging for an entire day.

 Wearable Technology-Week 9-graph

A day in the life

To gain an experience of lifelogging, I recorded a full day in my life as I went about doing various jobs and studying. The small info-graphic demonstrates what went on in this day for me, while I did not post a picture or create a post to Facebook as such, I did utilize incidental logging, as I posted in the community about a funny video. I also incited conversations with various members of the community, asking about how their day was and what they thought of some of the recent game play changes. While this does not so much create a log, it does document that I spoke with these people and created a conversation point within the community. This sort of log does not count as a quantifying activity, as it does not provide any sort of data about what was happening at the time nor does it assist in collecting data about inputs, my current states and my mental or physical performance. If I had started a conversation about how I was feeling and had recorded it, this would have qualified. Instead the conversation was about a funny video and what was happening in their lives, while this may count as a qualified for them as they are discussing the events that happened in their life; it does not for me.


Within the area of lifelogging,  I do not use social media so much to keep a record as I prefer a hard copy of my own lifelog rather than a technological one. Any logging which is done on this site is often through the tagging of other people; often tagging me in their photos then through my own actions. When I do keep a lifelog, I prefer to use the basic non technological drawing book and often will communicate my feelings and emotions rather then my current physical state. I also don’t mind the ideas of wearable technology using lifelogging; but I have concerns over the privacy issues which arise from this idea. While lifelogging is unlikely to be for everyone, it is becoming more and more popular in the world today.


8 thoughts on “Lifelogging and Wearable Technology-Science Fiction Trend or something more?

  1. becandsocialtech says:

    Personally, I am not a fan of wearable technology because I prefer to disconnect from all devices at several points during my day. I find it refreshing and decreases stress for me. What are your thoughts on the new Apple watch?

    Liked by 1 person

    • visionsearching says:

      Thanks for your comment. I think that the Apple Watch will be an interesting first version but I am looking forward to reading reviews and seeing how it compares as it is much more expensive in comparison to the Pebble. I would be curious to try out the second version of the watch. I find it nice to turn off at certain points, but I do enjoy the convenience of integrating technology into my life. Have you ever tried one of these sort of watches before?


  2. mkroes says:

    I found your post interesting to read because you’re similar to me in that you don’t use wearable technology to lifelog. Although, I don’t keep an offline lifelog either like you do. I didn’t consider my online posting habits to be lifelogging until you described these as being mood logs without actually being lifelogs, I hadn’t considered that.

    You said you don’t post your photos to Facebook because you don’t trust the company and their privacy policies. But there are benefits to storing files digitally, do you only keep physical records? And do you ever feel restricted by your physical lifelogging methods?


    • visionsearching says:

      Thank you very much for your comment. I do store most of my photos digitally either on my own desktop or on my dropbox. The advantage of the dropbox is that I can access my photos at any time and on any machine. I am not as worried about privacy issues about dropbox as I feel they have a tighter security then Faceboook. And no, I prefer to keep a physical because at the end of the day; I love the feel of something physical in my hands. While I may lose track of something sometimes, I still like the feeling of finding that physical reminder of that time in my life. Do you keep any form of mementos or photo albums either digitally or physically?


      • mkroes says:

        Thank you for your response. I find it very interesting that you trust Drop box more that Facebook. While I can understand why you would have more trust in dropbox may I still play devils advocate for a moment?

        Both systems are probably using very similar privacy acts and both are corporations that are monetising a service. So why would you trust one faceless giant over another? this is purely rhetorical so you don’t have to feel the need to answer that, it’s just how I feel about the internet. hehe I trust no-one. ;p

        I used to scrapbook a lot but I’ve become forgetful. I forget to take photos and If I were to continue scrapbooking I would frequently forget to print them off. I tend to keep a library of photos in various Apple photostreams shared only with select people.


        • visionsearching says:

          Always welcome to play the Devils advocate 😛
          I was originally going to say I think the difference is that I am much more aware of what Facebook is and how it shares the information with third party partners. I was also going to say that I think Dropbox does the same, and to be fair I don’t think their would be much difference between them in relation to their privacy policies. To my pleasant surprise there is. Dropbox’s privacy policy (which can be found here states that “When you use our Services, you provide us with things like your files, content, email messages, contacts and so on (“Your Stuff”). Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your Stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Services.” This I was pleasantly surprised to read as it gave me a lot more confidence about what they were doing in relation to my privacy. In comparison Facebook’s privacy policy (which can be found here states “We want our advertising to be as relevant and interesting as the other information you find on our Services. With this in mind, we use all of the information we have about you to show you relevant ads.” This concerns me a great deal and it is why I have been slowly moving away from Facebook as I dislike the idea of somebody being able to look at my personal information. After reading both documents, I am glad to say I feel justified in my current choice of using Dropbox to store photos. Scrapbooking is great but I could never get into it. And just out of curiosity what is the Apple photo stream private policy like? As you state you trust no one but upload photos to Apple photostream? Now I am the one playing the Devil’s advocate 😛


          • mjkroes says:

            Wow I’m very surprised to see that write that in their privacy policy, That’s great. I agree that it’s a little disturbing to think that a company is watching you over your shoulder and gathering information like that. That being said, Google does the same thing. They too look at your information to advertise to you, so I don’t see a huge difference.

            You asked about the Apple PhotoStream privacy policy so I looked it up. It’s listed under the iCloud and it states that “iCloud secures your data by encrypting it when it’s sent over the Internet, storing it in an encrypted format when kept on server, and using secure tokens for authentication. This means that your data is protected from unauthorized access both while it is being transmitted to your devices and when it is stored in the cloud. iCloud uses a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption—the same level of security employed by major financial institutions—and never provides encryption keys to any third parties.”

            There is also an overview about Apple Privacy and the in depth Privacy Policy which I talked about in my lifelogging post. It states that they try their best to protect their customers and don’t allow a “back door” into your personal information. However, in certain legal circumstances they may be required to share your information. But that is just a part of digital life these days.

            It’s true I said I don’t trust anyone. But that’s because I believe most services have a similar privacy policy which complies to the Australian Privacy Act. If I decide to let my distrust stop me from using a service I may as well be boycotting the internet.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s