A speculative research project exploring the romance of personal data


We’re all creating more data about our lives, be it on social media or on our smartphones. Nowadays, people even use technology to track themselves and record how active they are, where they’ve been or how well they’ve slept. But how public should this data be? What would this look like on a dating profile? Would you like to know how late she works or whether he’s a night owl? Just how much does he workout? Where’s her favourite coffee shop?

We ran a first Meta Dating event with a group of singles interested in dating with data to take part in our research. We’re interested in how using digital technologies to record parts of our lives, so called ‘self-tracking’, reflects our identity. What stories can you tell about yourself through data you’ve recorded about your life? What does your data tell you about yourself, and what does it say to someone else? What self-tracking data would you put on your profile? Would you like to know how much he runs or whether she’s a night owl?

Leaflets2  Dating2

This research was undertaken in collaboration with Chris Elsden, Andrew Garbett, David Chatting and John Vines at the Digital Interactions research group at Culture Lab, Newcastle University.

Associated publication:

Elsden, C., Nissen, B., Garbett, A., Chatting, D., Kirk, D. and Vines, J. Metadating: Exploring the Romance and Future of Personal Data. In Proc. CHI’16. ACM (2016). [link]