Are You A Datasexual?

Hah!  Caught you!  OK. There's homosexual.  Meterosexual.  Now, datasexual?

It's not what you think.  It's obsessive self-trackers, according to Janet Fang at  You know them.  They're either posting their dinner photos, then checking compulsively to see who viewed them, or adding comments to someone else's post, and checking them every two minutes.

Fang, who references IIIEE Spectrum for the information, writes, they're constantly using social media "not just to enhance self-knowledge but also to embellish self-presentation, especially on social networks."

She notes that Big Think offered this description last year:
"They are relentlessly digital, they obsessively record everything about their personal lives, and they think that data is sexy. In fact, the bigger the data, the sexier it becomes. Their lives — from a data perspective, at least — are perfectly groomed."
That's another thing.  I hate reading about all the trips people take, the parties they go to, the friends their kids have, especially when my idea of an activity is going to the grocery store.

But back to datasexuals.  Fang offers these definitions of them:

  • The datasexual spends a good part of the day sending out narbs (narrative bits): any item of personal information posted online, particularly as it contributes to a personal narrative they’re creating online.
  • The difference between quantified self (QS) proponents and datasexuals is the latter’s emphasis on public self-embellishment and conspicuous oversharing.
  • A QSer believes in “self knowledge through numbers” and might use a pedometer to track the number of steps taken each day. A datasexual will wear a Nike+ FuelBand on his wrist to display the number of steps he takes each day, and he’ll post that number to his online friends.
  • The datasexual is almost always into success theater: the posting of images and stats designed to make others believe he is more successful than he really is.
  • Good data hygiene includes: a flattering selfie with or without a celebrity, a humblebrag, and vanity metrics (My resting heart rate is 55! Just passed the 10,000-follower mark on Twitter!).
OK, so I've been guilty of some of this (I used to wear an activity monitor and sometimes posted my results). But don't you know these people?  I hate to admit it, they're some of my best friends.


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