We Don’t Need a Year in Review For That!

Illustration of a variety of overlapping doodles of personal data, with the words We don't need a year in review for that

Since personal data has become so prevalent with our heavy digital use, many apps and websites in recent years have started sending yearly wrap-ups. For many it’s a fun time to see what achievements you made in the last year — perhaps reaching a new running goal or time spent learning a target language or hours spent meditating.

But what personal data that was captured in the last year would you rather just forget happened? 

We decided to put together a list of personal data from the last year (the year that shall not be named) that we would NOT want a year wrap up of to help answer that question. And it seems most of these apps and services listed have good intuition to not give their users that data. In a round-up we are calling We don’t need a year in review for that.” 

Grub Hub / Food

With a stressful year came a lot of ordering in and comfort eating for some.

picture of <b>Rachel Vorm</b>
Rachel Vorm

I personally don’t want to know how much money I spent on take out. It’s better left unknown, in the past, forgotten to the food gods. No regrets.

I think the data would say that I never venture too far from my neighborhood and I am not very adventurous with where I order from. It would probably tell me that I really liked that vegan place down the corner that’s really fast and in walking distance.

picture of <b>Rachel Shaver</b>
Rachel Shaver

My chocolate milkshake count for 2020 would probably be a little bit gross.

Instacart delivery count of Home Run Inn frozen pizzas… and substitutions for the ultra thin when the regular uncured pepperoni is not available.

Mint / Spending

For others it was a time for learning new hobbies and all the upfront costs for making that happen. 

picture of <b>Kelly Cunningham</b>
Kelly Cunningham

I don’t want Mint or any other finance app to tell me exactly how much money I spent on yarn (or other hobby supplies) in the last year… But I guess I had to do something while I was stuck at home.

Social Media

Many of us spent a lot of time on our phones to help pass the days by.

picture of <b>Philip Miller</b>
Philip Miller

I absolutely do not want to know how many miles I’ve scrolled on any social media platform. Or how many ads I’ve seen. Or how many facebook arguments I’ve clicked on. Being stuck indoors more this year has meant spending more time on screens, which is something that I (and I’m sure many of us) struggled with to begin with. Most of that screentime has been social media – split between things like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit, so I know my thumbs definitely get used for scrolling more than just about anything else. The last thing I need is for anyone to quantify that – my screentime report every week shames me more than enough.

Texting / Phone Use

With all the time we had social distancing, for some we still found ourselves too exhausted to text friends and loved ones back in timely manners. 

picture of <b>Jon Tinman</b>
Jon Tinman

Average response time to friend’s texts even though I’m literally doing nothing.

picture of <b>Kelly Cunningham</b>
Kelly Cunningham

It would be so interesting (but maybe also terrifying) to know exactly what emojis, gifs, or memes you used this year and how many times you used them. I hope my top emojis would be smiles and hearts, but realistically, it’s probably just eyeballs, grimacing, and nausea. And the This Is Fine dog.

Couch / Inactivity

There are many apps and wearables that can function as nudges when we are inactive for long periods of time, but for some, we are glad our couches currently don’t have that functionality. 

picture of <b>Kelly Cunningham</b>
Kelly Cunningham

I don’t want my couch to send me a year in review (she says as she’s working from the couch)…. It would say I need to take a walk.


Spotify does do yearly reviews. For many, they are interesting lookbacks on what we stuffed our ears with, but for some, it was a cry for help. 

picture of <b>Jon Tinman</b>
Jon Tinman

Actually spotify’s year in review this year seemed like a personal attack.

Let us know what year in review data you would rather not have a look back on. Tweet us @fuzzymath!

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