your.flowingdata: Collect Data About Yourself via Twitter

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a project that lets you collect data about yourself via direct messages on Twitter. It’s called your.flowingdata (YFD). It started with just weight and sleep, but it’s slowly growing. I recently added entertainment, potty time, smoking, mood, and something I call YFD pulse. You can now also download your data in CSV format.

Here’s my YFD pulse…

Here’s when I go… you know…

Now here’s my sleep habits…

Alright, so maybe that’s more information that you needed to know. But anyways, if you’d like to help me test your.flowingdata, I’m opening it up to the first 300 people. Just login at your.flowingdata with your Twitter info, and you’ll be good to go. It’s very tip of the iceberg at this point in development, but I’d love to hear what you all think.

UPDATE, 11:34am – It seems the Twitter whitelisting hasn’t kicked in yet, so there’s going to be some lag. Stay tuned. Feel free to continue logging data. No data will be lost while we wait. Sorry for the inconvenience.

UPDATE, 12:41pm – You can now login and create a YFD account. You can also start logging data. Although it won’t appear, no data will be lost. I’m still waiting to get a response from Twitter.

UPDATE, 1:34pm – It looks like we’re back in business. Updates will be slightly delayed until I’m absolutely sure, but feel free to create an account and record data.

UPDATE, 7:40pm – We’re now back at the normal refresh rate of every 3 minutes. I’ll increase the frequency in a couple of days.

UPDATE, 8:47pm – That’s it for this wave of invites. Thanks everyone for the hugely positive response. Follow @yfd to stay updated on the next wave.


  • absolutely amazing, i love it.

  • One of the most clever mashups I’ve seen in a while.
    If I can have suggestion: go “crazy” with typography, colors, big fonts. Make it more alive. On the other hand this “statistical report on your web life” style is also nice.

  • @dx0ne – I wish I had the design sense to do something like that and make it look good, but i don’t think i have it in me :)

  • I’m unable to create an account. Is the site down?

  • Hmm, it looks like the Twitter whitelisting might not have been activated yet, so we might have to wait an hour or so.

  • I don’t know if that’s an issue or not, but I got a few responses from YFD saying that it didn’t understand some of my messages. Wonderful idea having this feedback, but I think it would be better to have the original message copied back so that I can be sure which of my messages weren’t understood by the parser. I think this is rather easy to implement. Just thought I’d point it out…

    I’m really getting addicted to this! Such an awesome idea for a mashup!

  • This feels like one of those things that creates a cusp between explosion and fizzle. That is, this combination of intent and socially adaptable technology is novel, as far as I can tell. I’ve already dropped some stuff in, but the great thing is I’ve got a phone well-built for Twitter, so I can log the data as it’s relevant rather than trying to remember to do so later.

    That’s all really obvious, but so of teh awsumz!

  • That was definitely the appeal of Twitter. I’ve been recording data almost exclusively with my phone. Now if only Twitter would process my whitelisting. They said it’d be about 48 hours before it went into effect. I might have announced this a couple days too soon…

  • Not sure if it helps or not, but my data’s in there, so it’s worked for someone.

  • “Creating your own statistics is about as easy as creating your own urine, and you’re about as likely to find someone else interested in it.”

  • @Paul – but when you’re done, you always look, don’t you? yeah, you do. People take a lot of interest in themselves, which is what YFD is for. All data are private :)

  • Great idea… the main obstacle I see is that it requires the user to provide their Twitter credentials. Is it possible to create a separate YFD account, provider Twitter username, and then friend YFD on Twitter? That way, you can DM the YFD acount in Twitter and it knows which user to relate that data to (without the Twitter credentials).

    Not a big deal to some, but I think it’s always a bit concerning when web site A asks for credentials to web site B. Especially when web site B (like Twitter) is used for many things other than interaction with web site A.

    I like OpenID for this sort of thing, but until/unless it’s working with the service(s) you’re mashing up, it doesn’t help.

  • @Jeff – Totally understand. It might be worth pointing out that YFD doesn’t store any passwords… it just sends it off to Twitter on authentication. But yeah, hopefully, once Twitter releases OAuth, I think the Twitter apps will get really interesting.

  • Cool idea–I like it! For some reason the time is off by an hour on mine (it shows 1 hour earlier than actual). I tried changing my time zone in twitter (even though it was already set correctly) but still off by 1 hour. Maybe something to do with daylight savings time?

    I think it would be cool if one could assign a calorie number to “eat” and “drink” so that one could keep a tally if so inclined.

  • @Travis – you’re totally right. the problem is daylight savings time, which i’m working on now.

  • I’m somewhat surprised that no one else has commented upon the level of detail that you provided. I’m all for candor, but can we please keep at least some information about bodily functions private? Too much information!

    Am I that much of a prude?

  • Cool idea. But I’m sort of with BCC. Sort of gives new meaning to the phrase “flowing data” — depending on how much fiber you’ve had…

  • DanF- Well played.

  • Gonçalo Silva April 23, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Excellent initiative. This system is REALLY useful for some people (like me) :-)

    There’s a small problem though… My yfd clock is off by 5 hours. I’ve looked at my settings in Twitter and everything is correct..

  • Very cool idea! Sign me up!! ;)

  • very funny, your pee and poop time )