There are several black holes in the cyber-verse. Drawn in with innocent curiosity, they lure you to their deepest depths with the siren's song of "look heeeere...ever seen one of theeeeeeese...aren't these kitties cuuuuuuuute...doesn't this look good enough to eeeeeeeat...I betcha wish you had one of thooooooooooose!"
Black Hole #1: Stumble Upon
This site has become such an addiction that I have to set a timer before I'll allow myself to begin stumbling. Here's how it works. You register for the site (basically name and email) and enter in different topics that interest you like sports or commerce. My list includes things like design, art, humor, crafts, and gadgets. Once you've completed your checklist, you click on the stumble icon. That is where your cyber-adventure begins. Oh, the places you will go in a most random fashion!
You'll see beautiful works of art:
You'll be able to write a letter to your future self:
You'll visit amazing places in faraway lands:
You'll find yourself laughing out loud all alone in front of your computer:
You'll see fashion inspired by works of art:
You'll sit for a lot longer than you'd think and watch this little guy toast and eat marshmallows:
You'll be calling people in from other rooms of your house. "Reed, you have GOT to come see these hilarious ads!" "Alan! Come see these reefs that have been created by people who submerged cool sculptures!" I could go on. And on. And on. For hours.
Stumble Upon has added a new feature in which you can type in your own interest. I typed in "Mail Art" and began to stumble. Sure enough, all of the stumbles were mail art related. It's not exactly like googling. It's cooler. You'll see.
I save SU as a treat for when I get all my work done. I actually say to myself things like "When you get all of the laundry washed, folded, ironed, and put up, you can stumble for 20 minutes. 1...2...3....Go!" or "Once you get the rice started, you can stumble until the kitchen timer dings!" One must be very careful when embarking on mindless yet intriguing entertainment.
Black Hole #2: Pinterest
It took me a while to figure out the point of Pinterest. It can best be explained as a place where you can publicly display interesting things you've found on the web. It's like tearing pictures from magazines and pinning them to bulletin boards. You might have one bulletin board that you dub "Cool Bathroom Design" and another named "Cats do the Darndest Things."
There are two ways that you can fall into this abyss of "oh-my-gosh-it's-almost-noon-and-I'm-still-in-my-pajamas."
- Top of page - "Boards" - "Staff Favorites" - Beware of this alluring trail. It leads to visual stimuli that will make you lose track of all time and space. You'll dance from "How to and DIY" to "Places to Go" to "Loft Ideas." Soon, you'll be repinning ideas to your own Pinterest boards.
- Your Own Pinterest Boards - After spending hours jumping from board to board gawking at weird furniture design and idyllic beach photography, you'll decide to spiff up your own Pinterest account by adding your own boards. Thought process: "Boards...boards...boards...what kind of boards should I make? Hmmmm." Then: "Hmmmm. What do I name my boards? They have got to have clever titles!" This question will send you backtracking on the trail of boards you've just spent 2 hours exploring. "Let's see...cool titles...cool titles..." Then you'll wonder what happens if you start a board labeled...say..."A-MAY-ZING Earrings" and only find about 3 pairs of earrings that are "pin-worthy." Case in point: my board titled "Products I Love" which has only had a picture of a Magic Bullet and a plexiglass canoe on it for quite some time. I hit a wall on that one. I'm totally suffering from "Products I Love" block.
From time to time, you'll get emails from Pinterest saying that someone is following one or all of your boards. Talk about flattering! It's like having someone say, "You have the coolest pictures of kitchens! I just love the way you think!" Then, you find yourself following your followers...to infinity and beyond.
These are but two of the ways that one can end up time traveling through a day in one's pajamas with unbrushed teeth. "What!? It's 2PM?! A minute ago it was 7AM! What happened!? How did I get here?! Oh my! I can smell my own bad breath!" I would feel guilty if I shared more "roads to nowhere." That would just be wrong and irresponsible. Consider yourself warned.