Every time I click my browser history in Chrome (usually when I’m looking for some webpage that I found yesterday but seems to have vanished from my tabs,) I always find myself taking a couple minutes to stare in wonder at how many Web clicks I make in a day. Not sure why, but I almost always find it fascinating to scan through the places I’ve been, the time I spent there, how random much of it is, and how focused other segments of it are. It’s an interesting but incomplete picture of my brain on the Web.
So I’ve been thinking, I want an app that captures everything I do not just on the Web but on the entire computer and then dives into that data to give me a quick daily snapshot of my learning work. In some detail, I want it to:
- List the most visited websites and minutes spent there.
- List the most used tools (Chrome, Evernote, Tweet Deck, Keynote, etc.) and active time in those tools (as opposed to just time open or running in the background.)
- Total number of clicks.
- Total number of switches between programs.
- Total number of interactions with others (e-mails sent, Tweets, comments, Skype calls) with names or handles of those people.
- Some type of focus or attention analysis, as in was there a period of the day that my work seemed most “on task” however that might be defined.
- For each of these areas, I want trending arrows (green for up, red for down) that compare my activities for that day to the previous week and entire history of the app.
- Number of words typed.
- List of web pages that were Evernoted, Tweeted, or saved in some way. (It would be icing to see how those notes or Tweets were interacted with as well.
- And a whole bunch of other stuff that I’m hoping you’ll suggest in the comments.
Why would I want this? Because it would help me understand myself more deeply as a learner with technology. I’ve really been swayed by the thinking of Howard Rheingold and others about our need to understand attention and focus in these spaces, and a quick look at just my browsing history shows I’m not the most focused learner at times. I know that Cathy Davidson has argued that this may be the natural state of things, and it’s not like what needs to get done isn’t getting done. But I do think that we are going to have to learn to be more mindful of our practice, and an app like this could help me, at least, do just that.