I grew up walking to school. I love walking. And my love of getting about by foot is one of the primary reasons why I abandoned a car-dependent rural idyll in favor of downtown living. So, I've always been a bit suspicious of Fitbit and the slew of other activity monitors designed to encourage a more active lifestyle.
Why should we need a little electronic widget to encourage us to walk more?
True, I still find myself a little sad that it's a little electronic nag that's encouraging me to do this. And I am trying hard to resist the temptation to check my steps every couple of blocks. But I have to say that providing a daily feedback loop on how active my lifestyle is has, so far at least, lead me to shift to a more active (and sustainable) lifestyle.
When Lloyd trashed smart thermostats in favor of the dumb home I disagreed with him. True, weatherizing your home is infinitely more important than fiddling with your thermostat every time you go out (by foot!) to the store, but by engaging people with regular, accessible feedback on their energy use, smart thermostats can be a gateway drug for conservation. Similarly, simply providing visual feedback to drivers on their real-time fuel usage can create significant changes in driving style.
Maybe Fitbit can do the same for walking. Hey, I walked to get donuts yesterday. (I do not intend to track my calorie intake any time soon...)