Just Browsing

Recently on Micro.blog, 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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