All I Know

All I Know | Betty Herbert

So, anyway, I’ll be starting a PhD in September.

(I’m trying to sound blasé about that, like I always totally expected them to take me in, but, bloody hell).

Providing I get some funding, I’ll be studying the ways that people tell stories about themselves online, and linking it to evolutionary and cognitive theory. I’ll also be creating some software to help people to share those stories in a more playful way. I’m fascinated by the way so many of us are willing to share intimate details of our lives on social media, and how we all become intertwined in each other’s stories.

But it all seems very far off, so I’ve decided to start a little project right here and now.

I’ve been selling a few bits & bobs on Ebay lately, and I began to notice how other sellers often couldn’t resist sharing a little bit of personal information with the things they were selling. One dress was proudly listed as ‘worn once on a fashion shoot’; I couldn’t help but hear the pride oozing out of that statement.

It made me wonder if I could use Ebay to tell stories. Then I started thinking about the bookcase-overflow that’s currently turning my study into a cave. I desperately need to shed some books, but I’m finding it hard to let them go. I wanted to explore what they meant to me – even the ones I hadn’t read – and why we hoard things.

So All I Know was born. Over the next few months, I’ll be selling off my book collection on Ebay. In each book, I’ll be hand-writing a story. Each one is unique. Each one is a fragment of autobiography which (I hope) will be scattered far and wide, and which will be impossible to piece together.

I’d love you to take part – bid on the books (please!), use the social features of Ebay to chat, talk to me about the project on Twitter under #alliknow, and follow me on Pinterest, where I’ll talk about the books I’m keeping.

Who knows, it might all find its way into my thesis. Which is a sentence I never thought I’d write.

One Response to All I Know

  1. Kavey 04/04/2014 at 14:35 #

    Oh, oh Les Fleurs Du Mal.
    Congrats on the PhD, and if you need subjects, I’d be willing, depending on details, of course.
    Lovely idea, this shedding of books.


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