The following is a pitch I made for a site called Advertising Week Social Club, a marketing publication related to large corporate events around the world. I answered a request about the effects of a connected life. The finished article can be found here.
I have some insights about fitness trackers. While we may use the bands and apps to help us stay healthy, there is a competitiveness within us that is manipulated by the fitness industry making these wonderful tools. When health is tracked using gamification (applying the levels and rewards) it can be a way to introduce fun into healthy living. I love my Nike + telling me how far I went and earning those trophies. For most of us, badges and rewards are a nice bonus on top of our improved health and fitness.
For some though, self-control is an issue People that struggle with the urge to go beyond healthy as they strive for the next color level or reaching a new record of steps in a day, or even more calories burned in a week, will have trouble with balance that they might not have without the tracking. Even well adjusted people can feel guilt over a meal or missing a workout, so its easy to see how an over competitive person might go beyond healthy limits to achieve something virtual.
Obsessive people might struggle to stop stepping or begin to justify their over exercising and lack of food consumption. I see the tracking industry as a wonderful thing for those that are already mentally healthy. For people that push limits, it might be the tool that allows them to step over the edge and to know just how far they went.
Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist