We all have that bad habit of getting absorbed into something that takes our time away from loftier pastimes. You know how it is; log into your favorite site when you get in from work or after class and suddenly WOOSH. Four hours later and dinner is still in the deep freeze and no assignments have been so much as looked at.
I thought that once I retired from World of Warcraft and it’s time consuming end game raiding schedules, I’d have all the free time I needed to get back into the pastimes that had fallen by the wayside, such as my painting or baking. Big ‘nay’ to that. Instead I found myself sitting in front of the computer out of habit, having all my attention drawn into the shiny pixels littering the internet therein.
Here is a list of my top internet time-suck offenders.
As of February 2004, Facebook has been THE social networking site used by everyone from tweens to your grandmother. In recent years, the veneer has chipped as the constant face-lifts (and privacy headaches therein) that have become almost expected of Zuckerbergs’ dysfunctional brainchild have been the most common reason for people to switch to competitors, such as Google+ or the more prevalent sites. Regardless of its age, Facebook is still a top time-suck. People constantly hitting refresh to read their news feeds, posting selfies (or regretting posts and their consequences), and even full blown addictions to their online game apps that often cost real world cash to play.
The constant Like/Comment/Share that is done for everything from ‘support our troops’ to ‘OMG! Boy Band #05934-8 is like I can’t even!!!1!1’ can start as a random few, but liking the pages of friends, celebrities and businesses as well as dedicated interest sites can suck away the better part of your afternoon.
Close on the heels of Facebook’s release, YouTube entered the fray in 2005. The most popular and recognized video-sharing website, YouTube started out as a small site where users could upload short self-made videos for their fellow subscribers and the general users to up or down vote and leave their comments in an open field below. Over the years, subscriber bases for popular users have gone from the hundreds into the millions, and celebrities, media corporations, and other organizations host their own pages. Some users have bristled at the changes, the biggest being Google’s integration of Google+ into the site in 2011.
I love having all my favorite YouTubers video posts show up in my ‘new’ feed, and although bugs are prevalent in updates (videos not showing up in your feed, missing subscriptions, lag), it’s definitely easy to click on related news videos and end up watching Swedish comedy at 2am. *cough* check out all the seasons of Tech Geek Gamers *cough*
You want a fun combination of entertainment, social networking, and even news with a registered users community that can submit and vote on everything from celebrity interviews to the obligatory memes and cat pictures? Here’s your distraction. This particular distraction is how I came across another favorite of mine; imgur.
Yes, I called it eem-gurr the first time I said it out loud, sue me. Imgur is an online image host site. Millions of users can vote on uploads, and as of 2012, user submitted material. As with the other mentioned sites, you can leave your impressions on an open feed below the post. The fun part of imgur is both posts and comments can be voted on, and users can earn reputation based on how well their pearls of humor and wit are received. Similar to YouTube, you can click on the first post in Most Viral and end up years deep in images by the wee hours of the morning.
Okay; this one is mostly for the ladies. Pinterest is the modern version of scrapbooking (see, I warned you guys). Users can upload, save, sort and share images, gifs and videos in collections called boards. For example I have a board dedicated to recipes I want to try, one for everything Geek, and another serving as my record of all the awesome random things I liked from the different countries I have been in.
Since 2000, DeviantArt has been a popular site for artists to upload their portfolios and share their experiences in blogs. If you have a penchant for art, you can find artists that specialize in everything from photography, story writing, to traditional ink and paper. I like the blend of resource material like stock photos and how-to’s with artists posting their original art or sharing success stories. Another quality I like is how the community strives to protect artist from art theft, reporting offenders and alerting artists of art frauds.
If you like fanart, type in your favorite subject and see all the user submitted takes on it.
Etsy is an e-commerce site specializing in handmade and vintage items, supplies, art, and hard to find gems. I discovered Etsy through a few friends who made and sold their wares on their pages there, and was impressed by the random finds you can find. One artisan made videogame themed jewelry, another sold 1940’s and 50’s era dresses. I managed to get art supplies for cheap there too. If you like shiny objects, you’ll like Etsy. Also Google ‘Regretsy’, a satirical site dedicated to the ‘what were you thinking?!?’ items bought and sold. Also related is ‘This is Why I’m Broke’, the items many of us lust after but don’t have the Swiss bank account for. Three sides of the often amusing e-commerce coin.
Needless to say, the time I thought I’d have in spades never materialized thanks to my love of the internet-and I didn’t even mention the online games! As per the usual fun, moderation is that word that flies out the window when one is visiting these sites, and I barely scratched the surface. Were it not for real life obligations and lack of an in-brain chip for virtual reality NOW (not to mention my lack of a Holodeck), I would always be logged in. Anytime you’re ready, science.
What are your favorite online distractions?
Awesome ‘I’m doing an internet’ featured image by TomSka (one of my favorite shirts I’ve worn on the show, too!)