The above image is known as the data pyramid. raw data is held at the bottom, the stuff that can be collected from the environment. Up at the very top lies choice, making a decision based on the data, information and knowledge presented with.
Tasked with collecting personal data with the intention to later induce a change in habit, I listed many types of metrics that I could collect.
- number of times I sit down
- hours spent vs standing vs walking
- number of times I eat
- number of times i move my jaw per day
- number of breaths i take in a day
- how many times I check facebook
- number of conversations per day
- number of tabs that I open
- number of times I pick my nose
- number of times I bite my fingernails
- money spent/day
- number of yawns
- The status of my poop
- emotional state at a given moment
- stress level at a given moment
- hours spent inside vs outside
The list continues, but those were a few of the many. Of that list, I chose to collect the number of conversations I have per day because I felt it had greater personal significance to myself. I feel as if I don’t talk that often, but was curious to find out how many times I actually strike up a conversation on a given day. With the behavior psychologist, Pavlov in mind, I thought I’d attempt to change my conversation behavior.
I created a simple wrist bracelet that I could log conversations with by marking it with a pen. This method was semi-effective, though definitely not the most accurate way to collect the data because it relied on me first, having a pen on hand at all times, second on me actively pulling out the pen mid conversation to mark it, and third on making the band every day(it disintegrated in the shower on the second day). But it more or less got the job done and I was able to see fluctuations in the amount of conversations I had over the course of a week.