Social media and self-tracking: Representing the 'health self'

Rachael Kent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Digital health technologies, self-tracking devices and social media platforms enable a variety of ways to represent 'health'. Such practices are often celebrated as empowering, promising to revolutionise healthcare through increased 'self-knowledge' and sharing of data (Townsend in Smart Citizens, Future Everything Publications, 2013; Wei in Mobile Media and Communication 1: 50-56, 2013; Parachassi in A Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites, Routledge, London, 2011). This raises many questions as to how helpful that is, especially in terms of the influences of individual and peer surveillance upon health management. This chapter draws upon empirical interview data, examining how and why users of self-tracking devices and applications share and represent their 'health' through social media. How do these self-representations enable ways of experiencing and viewing one's own body and health? Does the acquisition and sharing of data mean better health outcomes or health optimisation?

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelf-Tracking
Subtitle of host publicationEmpirical and Philosophical Investigations
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319653792
ISBN (Print)9783319653785
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Health management
  • Health Representation
  • Self-tracking
  • Social media


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