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What I’ve Learned After One Week of Using Daytum

Posted on 25 October 2010

A screenshot of my Daytum graph

In a world where even the smallest action is chronicled by a Tweet or Facebook status update, Daytum is the logical next step. For the uninitiated (and this will be pretty much everyone), the website is the creation of a guy by the name of Nicholas Feltron, who in 2005 sent out what he called an annual report in lieu of the annual Christmas letter. These reports (viewable at feltron.com) are truly a thing to behold, taking a bunch of personal statistics and presenting them in the form of charts, graphs, and infographics. We’re talking total number of songs played in iTunes, average speed while travelling  and maps of his meeting distributions . Daytum is a website he created to let others (like me) do something similar: choose some data sets, put them in some displays, and watch the results.

Where Twitter is criticized for chronicling the mundane (“Eating a sandwich!”), Daytum multiplies the mundane and makes it into something interesting. I would never post the fact that I was drinking a glass of water, but for the past week I have been making note of every time I consume liquid and when (almost– I’m pretty sure water is underrepresented on there– not easy to take note of, so it’s my best estimate). Same with method of transportation to work, whether or not my lunch is leftovers, and the average number of hours you can hear my work on the radio.

All of this makes for an interesting statistical survey of your daily life. What have I learned so far? I travel to and from work  74 km in a week (mostly by bus), I’m on the radio for an average of 108.71 minutes a day, and the odds of me having leftovers for lunch are equal to the odds that my dinner will include some form of meat. Of course, this also makes for a good reminder of the importance of sample size– so far, there’s a 100% chance of me wearing blue jeans on any given day.

One of the things I find fascinating about social media like Twitter and Flickr is the ability to quickly and easily take a glance back at your life on any given day that you were using it– choose a month and you can see the photos you were taking and the things you felt like sharing. Daytum takes the long view of the most mundane of daily activities. It’s also interesting to see what other people are tracking. There’s someone who keeps track of its dog’s walks, diet and exercise, and encounters with other dogs, another who keeps track of how far people have travelled to crash on his couch, and any number of other things http://daytum.com/activity. All far more interesting than just a status update stream.

Filed under: misc, personal, technology

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