Why Fascination with Wearables and Presence?
As I sat through the sessions at SxSW on Wearable technologies in March, something clicked. As a lover of gadgets, I am always eager to try new things if they have a purpose that I can relate to. My passion for social strategy and getting people to engage with each other on a deeper level for mutual benefit had a connection here and it was finally becoming clear. Something about motivating each other by sharing data, about getting out and getting fit, about being more present in the moment with others was standing out. I was and am determine to dig deeper. Call me crazy, but I even changed my doctoral dissertation to focus on finding more answers.
My first really effective wearable was my Jawbone UP band. When living in Sweden, my Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) became acute. Some ways to combat S.A.D., like many forms of depression, is movement, fresh air and social interaction. I used the idle vibration alert to get me through the Winter months. I trained my service dog to respond to the alert. So that, even if the vibration wasn’t sufficient enough to modify my behavior, her tugging at my sleeve to urge a walkabout resulted in action. Once out and about, I became progressively more engaged and present with my work, my research and my interactions with my family and friends. It was the action that created the presence, but I believe the action would not have occurred without the stimulation of the wearable (and a little tug from Lola).
What about other discreet wearables? I am most curious about wearables that passively monitor and alert us to behaviors that are detrimental to our being present, mindful in the moment. So, my journey begins here (well, sort of, the sharing begins here). I look forward to sharing more with you as it continues. I will continue to share, and I hope you will too. Feel free to contact me directly if you have stories, wearables, research that you think would be relevant. I look forward to hearing about them and from you.