• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Студенческий дискурс о цифровом селф-трекинге: риторики и практики

The article examines how Russian students think about and engage with digital self-tracking technologies (mobile apps, wearable fitness trackers, smartwatches), which collect biometric and behavioral data. It presents the results of reflexive thematic analysis of students’ essays on the topic. What meanings of self-tracking are foregrounded in these works? How do students describe their experience of using self-tracking technologies? How is digital future envisioned and how is a futurological discourse of self-tracking constructed in these essays? The research has shown that self-tracking can be conceptualized as a “value-based”, “corporeal”, “social” and “technological” phenomenon. Virtually all students have certain experience of self-tracking, however, some of them attempt to limit it or have given it up for a number of reasons. Based on students’ stories (both from current and former users), the author suggests a tentative distinction between three styles of digital self-tracking: “gamer”, “manager” and “transformer”. For a “gamer” it is the thrill, enjoyment and the sense of novelty that matters. “Managers” aim at bringing order into their life and “thoughts”. “Transformers” wish to change themselves radically, at both the body and psyche levels. In reality any self-tracker combines all the three roles, but one of them is likely to dominate. In the students’ opinion, the existing self-tracking technologies cannot create a strong motivation for self-optimization, but in the future their effectiveness may increase. Some of the essays develop a dystopian discourse of self-tracking, pointing out a number of issues, such as: the use of personal data for corporate benefit, a prospect of coercive self-tracking (and total control), the transformation of social practices and institutions under the influence of “digital doubles”. Admitting the inevitability of further technological development, the essays’ authors emphasize that it is necessary to critically evaluate the possible consequences and risks of human beings’ and social life’s “datafication”