December 14, 2022

Just Browsing

Recently on, folks have been talking about slow technology.” This usually means single-use or limited-use devices. The phrase wise phones” has been coined to refer to flip phones and other simple telephony. Anna Havron, an analogue and simplification enthusiast, recently wrote a post on downgrading her own phone.

I’ve been thinking critically for a while about my increasing usage of the web. I was at a pretty good point over a year ago where I had good bedtime hygiene. I was able to shut down about an hour and a half before bed and read a book on an ereader. If an idea struck me and I felt like I just had to look something up on the internet, I would write that research task into my bullet journal as a todo. I was closer to my goal of making the web a transactional experience.

What do I mean by transactional experience?” I like to think of it as going to the web to grab something in particular. A podcast, a playlist, or a batch of articles to send to my Kobo. That type of activity is in opposition to just sitting at my desk, trying to figure out what I want to do next on the web. I’m even worse about that when I’m in bed at night with my iPad. It’s hard to put it down. It’s a lack of intention that sucks away the time until I don’t know where it has gone.

When I was working in retail, we used to talk about destination shopping. Destination shopping is when people go to a store with a particular purchase in mind. It is not browsing, which makes it a good analogy to my internet usage. Mindless surfing is called web browsing” for a reason. The activity is missing a purpose, other than to look around. Not everything we do has to have a purpose, particularly after a long day at work. However, it seems to me that these forgotten hours can be perhaps better spent.


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Canned Dragons is a blog about faith, noise and technology. This blog is written by Robert Rackley, an Orthodox Christian, aspiring minimalist, inveterate notetaker, software dev manager and paper airplane mechanic. If you have any comments about these posts, please feel free to send an email to Robert at (this domain).
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