I've been spending a bit of time on the Internet lately. This mightn't seem strange to most of you, but for me it's something of a change. Much like Russell, I got introduced to the Internet in the early '90s, when I was working for Victoria University student rag Salient. We had a couple of Macs hooked up to the web and despite, or perhaps because of the sloooooow nature of the exercise, the sun rose many a time to find me still sitting in that office in the bowels of the student union building, jumping from link to link to link…
Everything seemed to link to each other a lot more those days, and part of the thrill was just clicking and seeing where you'd end up. It wasn't so much what I was reading that was important, but where it was coming from. Sports results from Israel, recipes from South Africa, something in French from France; it was all the fun of having free international toll calls, but only to a specified list of fairly uninteresting people.
The prevalence of bigger, better and faster search engines has, for me at least, removed the "follow the links" approach to surfing. Most of my Internet sessions have, for the past couple of years, started with a Google search, and ended with a site derived directly from aforementioned search.
It was only recently when my employer – God bless – gave all us proles Internet access, that I realised the folly of my ways. Or perhaps lack of folly: By treating the Internet as a mere reference tool, I'd been missing the myriad of random shit out there. Ok, productivity at work is at an all time low, but personally, I'm entering a renaissance. I'm following any and every link, staying after work to surf, learning about archery clubs in Guatemala…
I'm probably preaching to the converted here, but I'm sure there are a few out there like me. I hate to admit it, but until Russell asked me to take part in www.publicaddress.net I didn't even know what a blog was. After a few weeks as a reborn cyberphile (I hope that means what I think it does) I now realise I was the only person in the world who didn't.
What's the thrust of this post then? Nothing really, which is the whole point. If you've read down to here, congratulations, you've successfully spent a few minutes rolling luxuriously in the mud of wasted time. Let this be a reminder to you, while you're rushing about from URL to URL, remember to take time to stop, drop a (metaphorical?) trip, and imagine how totally freaky it would be if you actually were the smell of roses.
Once you're on that level, check out this site… it's like whoaah! man. I'm sure the secret to life is hidden somewhere inside.
If like me, you're having problems rediscovering your surfin' mojo, here's a random site generator by my mate Nik which is a bit of fun and guaranteed to send you somewhere, well… random.