Tagged: self-tracking

Academic Paper: WeChat Movement: How do self-tracking technologies affect our lives?


WeChat is a widely used chat app which has more than one billion users around the world, most of them are from China. WeChat Movement is one of WeChat’s functions, which also has a huge number of users, as long as you are a WeChat user and follow WeChat Movement official account, then allow it to read your location and movement data from your smart phone, it begins to work: record your daily steps, generate steps ranking list. Because it is a self-tracking application based on social media, it has both self- tracking and social functions. So how could it affect users’ lives?

It is worth noting that self-tracking has been a widely studied topic around the world, and there are also many Chinese scholars have studied the influence of WeChat Movement on communication. According to them, self-tracking plays different roles when people use it (Lyall and Robards, 2017). Not only does it record data as a tool, it also generats a range of affective forces by participants (Lupton, 2019) and causes an impact on users’ social and interpersonal relationships (Wan, 2017). It means that self-tracking technology is not a simple technology to track people’s physical condition, it has a certain social impact. Though different scholars have different research focuses, they all point to the “soft impact (Swierstra, 2015)” of technology, which can not be ignored in technomoral change. Researches on self-tracking deserve further consideration since it it first affects people’s life as a technology, and then brings deeper social impacts.


In this paper, I will take a specific self-tracking application: WeChat Movement as my research subject, to discuss what changes WeChat movement has brought to users’ lives and our society. Firstly, I will introduce ethnography and qualitative interviews which are used as main methods. Secondly, I will present a literature review about self-tracking and technomoral change as theoretical sources. Then the data of my qualitative interview will be analyzed, in order to have a discussion with the literature to get my own opinions. At last, I will draw conclusions based on the theories and findings to answer my research questions: to what extent does this self-tracking application, WeChat movement, affect personal life and society?

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