Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ode to the Internet: Hopelessly Devoted to You

The Internet is full of charm, but also sings a siren song.

Move over TV, we now have yet another form of advanced technology to capture first spot for absolute time waster and number one procrastination tool.

It's a lure we love to hate and hate to love: the Internet.

A reoccurring part of my life now consists of checking my email before and/or after work. That 'catching up' method of communication usually occupies a good half hour. However, due to the wonders of the Internet, one link leads to another link which leads to a quick Wikipedia search, leading to another Wikipedia link, to a related search link, a source link, and so the cycle continues until you glance at the clock and you are either late for work or it is hours past your bedtime.

As much as I'd like to believe time passes quicker while on the Internet, it is a cheap cop-out disguising the real problem at hand- how to avoid wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.

To me, the biggest time-wasters are community boards and social utilities like Facebook. A quick “hello” to catch up on Facebook can lead to a detailed chat about where you are going next holidays, or what you are having for breakfast- since you have talked the whole night away with your six conversations running at once. All the while you are also playing CafĂ© World, checkers with your mate from America, uploading photos from the birthday party last weekend, and joining the “I am Going to Marry One of the Men in Jane Austen's Novels” group.

As much as the Internet is an invaluable source of information, and serves as an extensive vehicle for intellectual development, to those lacking some self-control, it is a nasty distraction to making real progress in your life.

Even writing this blog took me a good part of the morning because it sat stationary while I read the amusing posts of university students on the student community board. One of the topics: “Which uni has most Asians: UNSW or USYD?”, among with “Which faculty do you think is most attractive [at the University of Sydney]?” Intellectual discussion, indeed.

Yes, in sickness and in health, we are hopelessly devoted to the Internet.

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