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what is lifeloggingBetween Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and more, we already document and share quite a lot about our daily lives, without really thinking about it. They are lifelogs of sorts, but without any sort of structure or consistency to them. While some might not agree, the very act of documenting all of this information makes for a fascinating record of your own life.

So, what is lifelogging? Rather than use social networks to document your life, there are dedicated lifelogging services, most of which keep that content (your lifestream) private, so that you can have a complete record of your day to day activities. There’s a huge array of services, gadgets and apps dedicated to exactly this purpose, some of them general, and some that serve a specific function – such as logging your workouts, your sleep patterns, your mood, or simply highlights of your day.

What is Lifelogging

Let’s take a step back and take a look at what lifelogging really is. The concept originated with the idea of wearing a gadget or computer that records or captures large chunks (if not each moment) of a person’s daily life. The first person to do this actually did it as far back as 1994. Steve Mann is considered the “father of wearable computers“, and the Canadian researcher, continuously transmitted his life using a wearable computer for 24 hours a day.

what is lifelogging

While the definition of lifelogging began with the idea of some sort of wearable gadget that automatically records your data for you, it has since evolved to include manual options which allow you to record the data to an app or service on a daily basis. The most common form of lifelogging you see today is that used in sports. Gadgets like the Jawbone Jawbone UP Now Integrates With Third-Party Apps Such As IFTTT, RunKeeper & Withings [Updates] Jawbone UP Now Integrates With Third-Party Apps Such As IFTTT, RunKeeper & Withings [Updates] Jawbone, a company that develops human-centered wearable technology and audio devices, announced on Tuesday its new UP Platform for iOS. The new platform adds integration between the UP wristband and app system, which keeps track... Read More  UP Jawbone UP Now Integrates With Third-Party Apps Such As IFTTT, RunKeeper & Withings [Updates] Jawbone UP Now Integrates With Third-Party Apps Such As IFTTT, RunKeeper & Withings [Updates] Jawbone, a company that develops human-centered wearable technology and audio devices, announced on Tuesday its new UP Platform for iOS. The new platform adds integration between the UP wristband and app system, which keeps track... Read More  and Fitbit Fitbit One Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker Review and Giveaway Fitbit One Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker Review and Giveaway Fitbit One is an activity monitor and sleep tracker. It counts steps taken, distance travelled, stairs climbed, and calories burnt. In sleep mode, it tracks the number of times you got up or were awake,... Read More , which track your physical activity, fitness, and sleep activity.

The Different Types of Lifelogs

We’ve mentioned just two types of lifelogs when introducing the idea, but there are countless ways in which people choose to lifelog.

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Wearable gadgets: A wearable gadget is the easiest way to lifelog since it automatically captures the data for you. If you regularly workout and want to keep track of your progress, this is the ideal way to do it so you don’t forget to record any of your data. Other types of wearable gadgets include cameras, like the Memoto which shoots photos, and Looxcie, which shoots video. Of course, Google Glass would also fit in this category.

how to lifelog

Mobile apps: If you don’t want to fork over a large amount of money, or any money at all, another convenient way to record data from your daily life is to use a mobile app. There are apps for taking photos (like Everyday 5 Apps For Snapping Self-Portraits On Your Mobile/Tablet [iOS] 5 Apps For Snapping Self-Portraits On Your Mobile/Tablet [iOS] Taking a self-portrait with your iPhone or other camera-supported iOS device is probably one of the easiest ways to capture yourself in a photo. Tap the little camera icon in the upper-right side of the... Read More ), shooting videos (like 1 Second a Day How To Create a Video Of Your Life One Second A Day [iPhone] How To Create a Video Of Your Life One Second A Day [iPhone] For the last several years, I've committed to completing at least one year-long project that requires only my time and discipline. Such projects include completing a daily creative self-portrait project, keeping a private online jazz... Read More ), logging your sleeping pattern (like Sleepbot), tracking your heart rate (like Instant Heart Rate), and recording and tracking your workout (like RunKeeper Keep Track Of Your Training Goals While You Workout With RunKeeper [Android] Keep Track Of Your Training Goals While You Workout With RunKeeper [Android] Around MakeUseOf, we love finding apps and other online motivators to stay fit and healthy. After investigating these fitness apps time after time, RunKeeper always proves itself to be one of the very best. It's... Read More ), among others. The disadvantage to using a mobile app rather than a gadget is that you sometimes have to remember to manually enter the data, but a lot of apps will come with a reminder notification built in. Even if they don’t, you can simply use your phone’s native reminder app and set up a recurring reminder to record your data on a daily basis.

Web apps: Like mobile apps, there are web apps that you can use to record your data, but this is likely the most inconvenient option of the four. Lifelogging, by its very nature, is best done while you’re on the go so you don’t forget to enter the data, or don’t forget what the actual data was. That said, there are some pretty solid services worth considering, some of which are automated, like Rescue Time which will let you know how you’re spending time on your computer.

Standalone gadget:While not as common, there are a few standalone gadgets that are used to create a lifelog, but more often than not it is of your surroundings rather than your immediate interactions. For example, CubeSensors can monitor your surroundings, and “continuously measure temperature, humidity, noise, light, air quality and barometric pressure for every room, they can even pick up unwanted vibrations that shake up your building.”
what is lifelogging
For a full list of lifestreaming mobile and web apps, gadgets and more, check out Mark Krynsky’s exhaustive list on his lifestreaming blog.

Why Should You Do It?

Now the big question, why should you bother with a lifelog? Today, it provides a great way to monitor your health, to make sure you’re benefitting from your workouts, and can offer you the means to improve the quality of your life. If you’re active and spend a lot of time at the gym, lifelogging your activity seems like a necessity to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.

Away from physical activity logging, when it comes to shooting video and photos, whether continuously or at intervals, you end up with a fascinating record of your life. You can capture moments and photos you might otherwise miss, and it becomes the ideal way to pass your legacy on to your family and children. They can share the parts of your lives they weren’t there for. Even if you choose not to share these details with anyone else, it becomes an important record for yourself…like simply taking journaling 5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals 5 Quick & Simple Ways To Write Your Life Logs With These Minimalist Online Journals Read More to the next level.

What do you think? Would you start a lifelog? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image Credit: WikimediaLoic LeMeur

  1. angus
    March 3, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    here comes big brother. its just another way to spy on each other.

  2. kr
    June 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Saga (www.getsaga.com) provides an easy way to start lifelogging. Just download it and turn it on, and it starts keeping track of where you've been. It also lets you make notes about what you're doing. Worth a look.

  3. gere
    May 22, 2013 at 12:17 am

    saga and whib are both pretty good life logging apps. saga has nicer UI and whib takes much lesser battery.

  4. Serra Stone
    May 15, 2013 at 11:20 am

    The newest one is GetSaga.com It's a great Android app, brand new too!

    • gere
      May 22, 2013 at 12:17 am

      Try WHIB

  5. Chris Marcoe
    May 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Interesting concept. though, I would think someone has/would come up with an app that combines everything you do on social networks and formats it to be easily readable.

  6. phogey2
    May 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I have been wanting to do this but not sure where to start. I can't count the times I've said I wish I had listened better to Mom or Grandma etc. I'm a mother too & shoot they don't take the time either so I thought I could write & then they could read it another time. I have privacy concerns too. If you have any info I'd be glad to listen. Thank you

  7. macwitty
    May 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Life is what's going on while we are dealing with logging

    No, I hope I'll not start with lifelogging in this was. To me it seems in a was as when people go to party and are more interested to document everything than be together with the people.

  8. Zhong J
    May 14, 2013 at 3:27 am

    What I do for some instances, is writing to express my ideas and emotions that could once disappear over time and I've considered the concept of writing reviews or retrospective opinions on numerous topics. This is a great hobby to have because people who is on Internet all day don't have better things to do anyway and life became dull.

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