Saturday, October 26, 2013

Data Driven Life: I Have a Shopping Problem.

When one of my grad professors presented the project, "Data Driven Life" where I had to track something for the course of a week, shopping and social media usage was the first thing to come to my mind. 

I started blogging as a creative outlet when the prospect of being a teacher seemed to lead to a life of solid color button downs, slacks and black flats. Yes, I love teaching science {most of the time} but the idea of wearing "teacher clothes" terrified me. 

So here is the paper that actually links my so called "Shopping Problem" with my usage of social media. Prepared to be shocked/amazed/judge me/ have your suspicions proven right. 

Emma Z
EDAD 521
Data Driven Life Paper

On September 15th 2013, I realized I had an addiction. As I stared blurry eyed into a computer screen refreshing my twitter feed to find the active links to the illusive 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target collection launch. I am a shopping addict. I stayed up until 4 am to order the items that I had been coveting all summer long. Saving the pictures of the release, making wish lists, and strategizing. I planned to utilize my sister as my backup to get the items that I wanted in store, knowing the chaos that would be waiting for us as we entered the door of our local Target. Getting there at seven in the morning when doors open at eight o’clock on a Sunday morning takes dedication. Dedication that I have towards shopping.
I love Target designer collections. The affordable versions of the runway options that I can only dream to own are at my fingertips. These true designer collections usually run around $2,000 for a purse. Which is not happening on a teacher’s salary. It was in those hours of waiting by the computer and standing at the door of a closed Target store that I realized what a crazy person I have become. This realization helped me make the decision to track my social media and shopping for a week.
I outlined the main outlets that I frequently use on a daily basis as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, personal email, and blogging. I tracked every minute of usage of each application, website, and social media outlet. I began this painstaking process with the hope to identify my time suckers. I also tracked every penny that was spent in the course of a week. I wanted to see if there was a correlation to the amount of exposure to social media and the amount of money I spend on a daily basis. I expected that blogging would be the highest amount of time spent since I use fashion blogging as a creative outlet.  
Figure 1 shows the amount of minutes that I used each social media outlet during each day of the tracking period. Some additional notes: on September 19th 2013 the new IOS7 IPhone software was released, the apps on the phone are all different, exploration of the new features resulted. Usage is also low on September 24th 2013 due to back to school night responsibilities.
Figure 2 shows the total amount of social media usage over a week. This figure indicates my largest time suckers as YouTube and Blogging. Since Blogging is the creative part of my social media usage, this number was expected. YouTube was also expected because I frequently watch videos while blogging. The next largest section of the pie chart was shopping which usually results from browsing other blogs and linking items. The other social media outlets are used to promote my blogging and browse other people’s activity.
Figure 3 shows the possible correlation between the amounts of money spent daily in comparison to the minutes spent on social media outlet. It was interesting to see where the peaks of the two variables correspond. On Day 1 the amount of money spent includes the first payment for Graduate School this semester. The amount would have been $166 for other purchases. The total amount of money spent for a week was $1737.85 and the total amount of minutes spent on 1940 minutes.
Conclusions and Recommendations
            The results of this tracking experiment were eye opening. I have been battling with the idea that I indeed have an addition to spending money. To see the actual numbers line up and support this idea and make me have to face the fact that I am unable to stop myself from browsing and making impulse purchases. I was faced with the idea of being honest about my shopping habits. As the New York Times article Data Driven Life on April 26 2010 states, “We are ashamed of ourselves, so we lie to ourselves”. Also as stated by the article’s author Gary Wolf, “My day was a patchwork of distraction” and as my data shows, my days are also.  I am hoping that as other people who have tracked their data through out their lives, I can master my habit by keeping track on the destruction that these habits are taking on my productivity and my savings account.  
Work Sited
Wolf, Gary. "Data Driven Life." New York Times. 26 Apr. 2010. Web.

So there you have it. My shopping addiction confirmed by dollars spent & hours blogged. But honestly- I love shopping. So it is kinda a #sorryimnotsorry deal... but one can always strive to improve {I suppose}. 

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