Future of Social Data

Self Tracking

Q: Do people track something about themselves?
A: Yes, people do track things about themselves such as number of emails (potential indicator of stress) in their inbox.

Q: What is the motivation for self tracking?
A: For social status or to achieve a particular goal.
A: May allow us to learn new things about ourselves and manage certain aspects of our lives better.


  • The aim is to collect huge database of disease condition and genomic trait and try to find correlation among people
  • Genome-wide comparison: correlation of genomic sequences
  • Genome view: visualization of genomic sequences
  • Grand Tree
  • Disease risk and prediction: visualize data effectively for people to easily understand

Social Data Revolution- Esther Dyson

Q: When do we focus on numbers?
A: People like specific numbers but do not like numbers about health-related conditions.

Q: Which data set is most interesting/relevant in changing your behavior?
A: Geolocation, Groupon, sleep data (those could lead to marginal change in behavior).

Q: Why do people want to share data?
A: Urge for attention.

Q: What are the economic incentives for tracking yourself?
A: Cheaper insurance (for health-related information).

Q: What are the psychological incentives for tracking yourself?
A: People like to collect "points" to achieve some milestones (e.g. airlines miles) or gain better social status.

Q: How much data do we need to measure or not measure?
A: Unclear, but should vary for each person.

Q: What kind of data are people willing to share?
A: 1. Data that reveals your identity (self construction)
2. Data about relationship with friends, families, companies, or communities

Greg Tang gerghk@stanford.edu
Sinit Vitavasiri sinit@stanford.edu