• Lupton, Deborah


Self-tracking practices have attracted burgeoning academic interest in recent years. This article draws on interviews with Australians who identify as regular self-trackers, examining the ways in which they describe their encounters with and enactments of their personal data. Vital materialism perspectives are employed to analyse and interpret the participants’ accounts of what they make of their self-tracked data and how they incorporate this information into their lives and relationships. Examples of participants’ accounts of their data are presented under different headings using the ‘data can … ’ format to illustrate what data can do. For these self-trackers, data can: tell you the truth, empower you, make you feel in control, provide tangible results, help you be organized, motivate you, make you change, be combined to generate new insights, surprise you, be overwhelming, challenge denial, provide a benchmark, monitor progress, supplement memory, be shared, generate intimacy, make you feel good, make you feel bad, be inaccurate and supplement expert advice. This analytical approach identified the complexities and ambivalences of the affordances, relational connections, affective forces and agential capacities that make personal data matter.


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