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By the Numbers

July 23, 2009
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Posted by Cara McKinley

In this age of information, documenting one’s life experience has become part of daily habit. Most popularly this comes in the form of social media, where people can share every detail of their experience, from tweeting about your annoying neighbor or posting a cool link on Facebook, to blogging about government reform or personal philosophies . For those left-brainers who enjoy balancing their checkbooks and comparing spreadsheets more than waxing poetic on Facebook status updates, there are a handful of web sites around now where you can input the numbers of your life and receive back the graphic analysis of your existence.

Mint.com : Okay, so Mint.com isn’t all that new, and personal finance software isn’t all that new, but Mint.com is free and is accessible from anywhere via the web. There’s no need to sit at home with your spreadsheets and checkbooks and input your data into some stodgy banking software, because Mint does it all for you by tracking your expenditures through your online bank accounts. It categorizes the data and outputs it into pretty charts and graphs, and will also email you monthly reports as well as notify you when you’ve blown your budget.

Tweet What You Eat : Tweeting can help you lose weight! TWYE uses the concept of a food diary combined with the accessibility of twitter to let you ‘post’ your food/calorie consumption from your phone throughout the day. Unfortunately, it’s up to the user to estimate the amount of calories in a given item, making the margin of error pretty big. Still, the results can be insightful.

openeco.org : Geared mainly toward small and large organizations, OpenEco lets you input and track your energy use so that you can monitor progress over time, and also compare and share with other similar organizations. You can then use the data to report to the EPA, or get a strategy from companies like Butterfly Energy Works for reducing your carbon footprint and lowering costs!

daytum.com : Daytum is really The One To Rule Them All. You can input any sort of numerical data that you want, to track and graph in a variety of ways. This could be as useful or useless as you want it to be. A useful idea could be a community service organization garnering trust and support by tracking how many flowers planted, funds raised, food donated, etc. A less useful data set seen recently was ‘Star Wars Songs Listened To’.

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