Quantified Self or Better to Quantify Someone Else: Can We Improve Ourselves By Mimicking Others?

The quantified self movement has produced any number of digital wearables allowing us to track our runs, our steps, our calories, and even our sleep. Then using our own motivation or target goals, we’re supposed to change our behavior towards improvement. Easy, right?

However, I wonder if we’re focusing on the wrong idea. Instead of tracking us as individuals, what if we used this technology to mimic someone who is already doing it right? Train like an athlete, eat like a nutritionist.

Imagine “following” someone and be made aware of their actions. Drink water when they drink water. Snack when they snack. Or follow the work pattern of the most productive person you know – how often do they check email? How often are they on Twitter? Should I follow the technology usage patters of MG or would my head explode?

Instead of measuring yourself and improving against some depersonalized target, would it be interesting to pattern our behaviors to someone else – in realtime, not just a training model – and as a community, live like someone else. Would that increase chances of improvement because we’re part of a real collective?

The next gains in quantified self might not be hardware and sensors but sociology and community….

One thought on “Quantified Self or Better to Quantify Someone Else: Can We Improve Ourselves By Mimicking Others?

  1. Totally agree here, though a “ghost mode” for real life would certainly raise some new and interesting questions.

    On the one hand, I've long since wondered how “the best” do it – having access to that information would be game changing in this sort of context.

    On the other, if we compare ourselves to others without proper consideration of differences (in physiology, etc) then we risk injury or letdown because everyone is a bit different.

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