16 July 2006

Ebay Marathon

Several weeks ago I had been asked to take part in an edition of the fanzine Leisure Centre with the theme Mass-Observation. They were asking artists to keep a diary of their day on Wednesday 12 July.

Naturally I had already kept a diary of sorts in my Prime Time Log Book and spreadsheet. I had, at my disposal, a complete list of all the activities I performed on that day. All I needed to do now was to find a way to visualise and present the information. I would use this as a mini test to see how I could begin to deal with all the data when I had completed the four week study.

I decided to make a pie chart showing an exact breakdown, over a 24 hour period, of all the activities I carried out. I had to get this done today as the deadline was Monday. After swimming and posting our letter of unionisation to Prime, I started work.

Unsurprisingly, the results showed that I spent the majority of this time sleeping, followed a close second by sitting in front of a computer (see above). When these Leisure Centre pages were completed and emailed off, we took a long overdue trip to the Co-op to get some groceries - an activity I don't perform perhaps quite as often as I should.

When I got back, I set about on my eBay-a-thon. I had been saving up items for this for quite sometime, but also collected a good few from Jon. My intentions for doing this were mixed:

- Firstly, I was keen to get rid of some stuff.
- Secondly, I had planned from the beginning of 'Part-time' that I would aim to carry out a certain number of 'normal activities' during the four week monitoring period. I made a list of things which included: eBaying items, filing my Tax Return, going to Ikea and doing a few DIY jobs etc. The aim was to add variation and an element of 'normality' to the study and to put a deadline on getting these things done.
- Finally, after finding it so difficult to find regular employment, eBaying 14 different items was also an experiment in other methods of earning a living.

I went about it as though a military operation - methodically completing the necessary stages required to list each item:

- I photographed each against a white background in a mini studio set up by the window in the living room.
- I then wrote descriptions for each of them including my standard 'Happy bidding!' and 'Check out my other auctions for other bits-and-bobs!'
- I then weighed each all the items and calculated fair postage rates for each.
- I processed all the images: tarting them up, cropping, and rotating to make them look as professional as possible.
- Finally I was ready to upload all the information onto the website, deciding what category they should each be in and starting the auctions off at 99p.

Three-and-a-half hours later it was done! The auctions would last seven days and would come to an end on the evening of the final day of 'Part-time' (Sunday 23 July) and would act as a conclusion of sorts.