Accepted paper:

Temporalities of Personal Analytics: emerging patterns of engagement with temporal data about the self


Martin Hand (Queen's University )
Michelle Gorea (Queens University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how the phenomenon of self-tracking is shaping, and being shaped by, the temporal contexts of everyday life. In-depth interviews are used to show several ways in which tracking devices are integrated in existing temporal practices and generate new temporal expectations.

Paper long abstract:

The proliferation of 'self-tracking' devices has become a recent focus of research into 'everyday' or 'personal' analytics in several different ways (c.f. Crawford et al. 2015; Lupton 2014; Nafus and Sherman 2014; Pantzar and Ruckenstein 2015; Whitson 2013). There has been relatively little qualitative analysis of the contexts in which such devices are ordinarily used, how the data is interpreted, articulated, and shared by individuals, and how such data relates to broader practices of temporal scheduling and coordination in daily life. This paper shows how such devices are becoming integrated with established technologies of marking and making time (clocks, calendars), are being used to explicitly manage time, and are ambiently shaping 'lived time' in diverse ways. The empirical data was gathered over several months as part of a larger funded program concerned with the contours of 'iTime'. The data used here is in-depth interviews (N=30) with students aged 18-24 who use self-tracking devices. Our analysis reveals continuities between existing temporal practices, but also significant novel trajectories encouraging users to (a) rethink and reshape their conception and organization of time (b) share their data across social media platforms to regulate personal time, (c) meet new expectations about temporal management being produced through the tracked data. These findings provide insights into the normative temporal expectations of self-tracking devices, and how these are understood and negotiated both through social media and a range of integrative practices. How these devices become elements of people's media ecologies is crucial to understanding their relative significance.

panel T102
Everyday analytics: The politics and practices of self-monitoring