A1 Journal article (refereed)
Tracking oneself for others : communal and self-motivational value of sharing exercise data online (2021)

Ehrlen, Veera (2021). Tracking oneself for others : communal and self-motivational value of sharing exercise data online. Leisure Studies, Early online. DOI: 10.1080/02614367.2020.1869289

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ehrlen, Veera

Journal or series: Leisure Studies

ISSN: 0261-4367

eISSN: 1466-4496

Publication year: 2021

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Routledge; Leisure Studies Association

Place of Publication: Abingdon

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2020.1869289

Open Access: Publication channel is not openly available


Self-tracking is increasingly popular in recreational sport. Leisure sports practitioners use wearable devices that are connected to online platforms to record, analyse, and share their exercise data. While doing that they interact with a digital system, with themselves, and with peers. This paper examines social-communicative aspects of self-tracking, and the support that these aspects and their associated practices may provide for physical activity behaviour. Data for the study was collected using an online survey and in-depth interviews with Finnish trail runners. The results indicate that sharing exercise data with others on a regular basis can support physical activity behaviour because it is mediated by social peer support. The analysis identified information sharing, comparison, and recognition as the main social-communicative aspects that motivate sharing physical activity data online, and ordinariness and privacy as reasons that limit data sharing. This paper contributes to the discussion on digital leisure by showing that for many users, communal and self-motivational values of self-tracking practices surpass the concern of surveillance and commodification of leisure time.

Keywords: physical training; exercise (people); social support; communality; sports technology; mobile apps; tracking; division (active)

Free keywords: self-tracking; recreational sports; wearable devices; online platforms; exercise data; data sharing

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Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-14-01 at 09:42