Fitness Tracker Apps Are the New Selfie

Sharing the data from your wearable fitness tracker is a trend, but when is sharing too much?

A day in my life last spring. Go me!

A day in my life last spring. Go me!

When I quit smoking, I couldn’t shut up about it. My friends, family, coworkers, and even randoms on the street knew exactly what day or week—or even sometimes even the number of hours—I was at in my journey. It helped me stay on track, and I eventually became a non-smoker. More than five years later, I’ve never felt better, and I credit my inability to shut up with helping me get through.

That’s why I don’t balk when I see the constant stream of Fitbit, Jawbone Up, and Nike Fuelband updates on social media. My Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds went from being predominately saturated by news, parenthood updates, and pictures of food, to images of calorie burns, number of steps taken, and how many hours of sleep people are getting.

I’ve been wearing the Jawbone Up off-and-on for about a year. But under no circumstances do I feel it necessary to share my updates with my friends and social media followers (who, as we all know, are not one in the same). For me, it’s a personal journey. It’s nobody’s business how much I slept or how many steps I take (or didn’t take) in a day. But, for the people who do share it all, I can see why blasting this info out into the world can help them on their journey.

Take Bianca Wilfork for example. The 35-year-old mother of three who most of you know as the wife of Vince, the Patriot’s veteran defensive tackle, has been sharing her stats via social media this month, and damn, she looks good. The Jawbone Up is clearly working for her:

Look at her now. Amazing. Those are horizontal stripes, people. recently published a story titled “The Rise of the Biometric Selfie,” which takes an in-depth look at the trend of posting all of your wearable’s info to social media. But it’s the intro that really caught my attention:

Thousands of steps taken. Dozens of stairs climbed. Hundreds of calories consumed and then burned.

Zero idea what to do with all this data.

It’s so true. People are seeing all this data, but whether or not it is really working to motivate them is another story entirely. Dr. James Beckerman, a cardiologist in Portland, Ore., tells, “…there’s quite a bit of data, particularly in the weight loss arena, regarding the positive impact that tracking can have — particularly weighing oneself, or a food diary or a pedometer.”

No matter where you stand on wearables or posting the info to social media, one thing is for sure: The trend is not going anywhere. In fact, the Consumer Electronic Association reports that in 2013, interest in purchasing wearables quadrupled, making it the largest year-over-year increase for any category of fitness device. Ever.

So post away. I don’t see any harm in sharing your info, and it may just motivate your friends, whether they’re real or not.