This article conceptualizes the experience of self-tracking as flow, a central technique, utilized by digital media companies to hook their users. We argue the notion of flow is valuable for understanding both the temporal lock-ins of self-tracking practices in sequences and repetition, and the way self-tracking technologies thrive on data sequences for retaining users and creating viable businesses. To substantiate this, we present a qualitative empirical study of how users experience flow when tracking various aspects of their personal lives. Users find self-tracking technology and the metrics they generate to have much more limited relevance and thus guide their attention elsewhere. If they are hooked, they are so in ways different from those projected by the technology. Users find meaning in their self-tracking in moments of registration, allocution, consultation and conversation, but also problematize their attachment to specific temporal tracking regimes.
- Feedback loops
- Record keeping
- Self-tracking in everyday life