For the paper, I’m thinking of extending a project I did for Shaowen’s Methods class last spring. The topic was on “Personal Informatics”. Basically, PI apps collect small bits of personal data and find ways to present the aggregated information in meaningful ways to offer users ways to reflect or improve.

One example of PI I use in my everyday life is MyFitnessPal. I track everything that I eat, and MFP tracks the nutritional value of whatever I enter into it. I can track calories, fiber, carbohydrates, sugar, vitamins, etc. I use this for maintaining weight, general health, and wellbeing.

I’m particularly interested in the use of PI for people in relationships because I think it’s an interesting take on the idea of personal informatics. When you’re in an intimate relationship (defined loosely) with someone, your lives become intertwined to a certain extent. There are apps/artifacts that help users get relationships, apps/artifacts that help people already in relationships, and apps/artifacts that even help with breaking up/divorce. (Katie, I’d love to talk to you sometime about the last category!)

Just a couple quick examples off the top of my head (I have a bunch in the archives of my hard drive, since I did an exemplar review for Methods):

An instant messaging/photo exchange/etc app for couples. It touts in particular its privacy features, and offers a shared calendar and other things.

Pickup Artist Tracker (PUA tracker):
The PUA community is one I take particular interest in, because the men in that community have a… unique way of going about the dating game. This app in particular has game-like achievements for certain activities (such as sex in the park, being invited in for coffee, picking up two women in one night). I won’t write too much here because I might actually write a longer critique on this particular app.