Narcissism is healthy if expressed in numbers, right? Well, that’s what the Quantified Self movement would have you believe. In 2007, Wired Magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly named this movement of fact fiends, who “share an interest in self knowledge through self-tracking.” What better way to “know thyself” then through cold, hard numbers?
Thanks to a deluge of new gadgets, Joe Schmoe – not just the elite athlete anymore – can track the minutiae of their daily lives, including calories binged, calories burned; stairs climbed, steps taken; hours slept, times woken up. Record-keeping and analysis is no longer tedious but now automatic and carried out – poof! – like magic by the little elves in our devices. Oodles of data are broken down into prettily-packaged, tasty little morsels of information that anyone can digest with a number of friendly web apps.
If you keep your finger on the pulse of the fitness industry, you know such trackers have been the de rigeur accessory for self-conscious consumers for a while now. The Quantified Self movement is not just for geeks anymore, but for anyone interested in learning how they measure up.
There’s certainly no lack of tools to help, with the revamped Fitbit trackers, the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone’s troubled Up, and the techy Zephyr BioHarness. For those who want the nitty-gritty on their nightlife, the WakeMate, Zeo, and Gear4 Renew will deduce how you snooze. Both the newly-launched Fitbit One and the Larklife follow you from day to night, analyzing both activity and sleep (hey, it’s like your own stalker!).
Most of these gadgets’ names favor real English words (the Fitbit One and Zip), often in a compound construction – an established structure that the Larklife follows. Like other names in the category (WakeMate, FuelBand) Larklife uses two familiar, short words to create an approachable, engaging tonality, appropriate for its inclusive positioning as a device that tracks anyone’s entire life, not just those who are fitness junkies.
“Larklife” has a lilting, alliterative quality that sounds lovely to the ear. The root word, “lark” (also the name of the first product, which tracks only sleep, and the company) has positive connotations, immediately conveying the image of a carefree, energetic bird, which like Twitter is rich fodder for visual treatment. It sounds light, airy, and active – all the things you’d want a tracker to sound like.
While I do like the first product/company name “Lark” a lot, the product names themselves are a little confusing. It certainly makes sense that the first product would be named “Lark” and the premium product is named “Lark Pro,” but “Larklife” is unclear. (You might ask, how is this different from the Lark Pro?) Unless you are familiar with the fact that Lark products used to only track sleep, “life” doesn’t adequately communicate the added benefit of daytime activity tracking. It also seems more appropriate for their online app component, rather than the product. Finally, the word-part, “life” is so general that it doesn’t lend itself well to product line extensions; it might be difficult to differentiate future products from “Larklife” if the company decides to expand its offerings.
It remains to be seen which trackers will triumph in an increasingly frenetic fitness space. But until then, anyone can claim to be detail-oriented with one of these trackers on-hand.
Overall Grade: B-