Hooked on the surf

Reading nosurf — Dave Gauer

If this isn’t an addiction, then we need a new word for it.
— Dave Gauer

The web is so sticky. Like Hotel California, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave”.

Dave hits the nail on the head in nosurf, describing the feeling of urgency that surrounds time spent on the web:

And I always feel like I’m in a big rush because I should really be doing something else. I’m simultaneously wasting time and short on time.

Compared to most people I know, I’m not a big phone user, but even still sometimes when I open my phone I find I’ve opened the web browser instinctively, unconsciously, even if I meant to open my calendar or reply to a message. There is an addictive pathway there.

But on my laptop I’m a Heavy Weight Surf Champion of the World. No one even comes close to finding as many things that I find just so very bloody interesting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a functioning addict, like I (currently) have a full time job that I’m real good at, and my partner doesn’t feel neglected, and I still find time to draw and write and tramp and take photos, but jeebus put me in a room with my laptop and nothing that absolutely needs doing today and before I know it isn’t today any more, we’ve hit tomorrow!

And Dave’s right, away from the web “ideas bubble up more often and there’s more mental space to ruminate about things”. I go out for a walk and 5 minutes in I have to stop and write shit in a notebook for half an hour because all this stuff just comes tumbling out of my over stimulated brain stem. And sure, all the very interesting stuff I’ve seen and since forgotten definitely does feed into those moments of all-out inspiration, but is it definitely worth it? Might there be a better balance I/we/you/etc can strike?

I won’t spoil all of Dave’s conclusions, which extend into a second post aptly titled nosurf2, but he raises several more good points about what using our time well might look like, and why it is that we often don’t want to.

As an aside, Dave’s two posts appear in his RSS Club, posts that he publishes exclusively to his feed without linking to them on his site. I find this novel, and though I’m not currently interested in further bifurcating my outputs, I might join this club of clubs eventually.