If you had kept half an ear open for the past few days you would have definitely heard of the advent of a mysterious thing called Google Plus, a social networking site on the lines of Facebook, which seems to have taken the world by a storm. There are forum wars going on, the loyalists of each group engaged in cheeky ripostes and counter-ripostes and contributing a significant portion to the millions of terabytes of useless stuff which you find on Internet these days. I knew that Google had something like this up its sleeves, as I had read a study published by them a year back on the concept of friend circles and stuff like that(Yes, seriously). As I vaguely remember, the report demonstrated the concept, taking an example of a primary school teacher who had friends in a gay strip bar or something of that sort. 🙂
The reason I write this article is because of a hypothesis which recently struck me while working. I am not sure if it holds true for anyone else, but it definitely holds true for me. The hypothesis is that the amount of time wasted in the internet is roughly a constant over long periods of time subject to the availability of internet. I have a certain lower threshold of time, I need to browse the net, which is imperative for me to work. When there is a shortage of time, say a day before an exam, roughly for every two hours of work I put in, I need around an hour of net just to clear up my mind. During normal days, when there isn’t any work to do and no assignments to submit, I have a upper cap of about 6 hours a day in front of the computer. As the time is a constraint, there is a limit on the number of new things I venture into, on the internet.
To give you an example, say I have a Facebook Account, a Twitter Account and a RSS Feed. Now, going by the higher limit of 6 hours, I roughly spend two hours on each of them and pack for the day. This process continues everyday and I spend roughly equal amount of time browsing through each of these sites. Things become interesting when there is a new entrant in the market. Say something like Google Plus comes about. And I create an account and I like it. The number of free hours I have is still six. But, it is difficult to divide my time equally among all four of them because I am used to spending two hours on each. Soon, I find myself neglecting one of the accounts(while the other two accounts get their quota of two hours each) and finally just leaving it to rot, while I completely traverse all my energy into building a new account.(Note the use of the word build, for I feel it is not an easy job)
In 2007, when I joined IITM I had a GMail, Orkut and Blogger accounts. I shall discount GMail as an instrument of time-waste as it is a necessary evil. I also used to visit lots of Linux Forums to get it up and running in my computer and Wikipedia for that Dirac-Delta enthusiasm I had for quizzing in my 1st year. That brings the total number of instruments of time-waste to 4. As the year passed, I concentrated on writing new blog articles. Then I discovered Google Reader. Gradually, I shifted from a writing-driven time-waste mode to a reading-driven time-waste mode, that is I stopped blogging leaving the Blogger account to fall into a state of disuse. Then, in mid-2008 I got a Facebook account. The number of hours I spent visiting Orkut came down significantly until it met the same fate as the Blogger account. And then I discovered Reddit. Visits to the Linux Forums came down drastically. Twitter came by and passed with hardly any sound as the name suggests as I could not comprehend the point of it’s existence in the first place. Slashdot briefly usurped Reddit’s position until I came across Stumble-Upon, which I use even now. The arrival of Google Buzz marked the demise of Google Reader, although I occasionally visit it to catch up with some internet comic strips. Now, Google Plus has arrived. Which activity will disappear from my current list of instruments of time-waste, I can only guess. Structurally, it is similar to Facebook. So, it may replace Facebook. Or it may replace Google Buzz. Or it may hinder my rejuvenated enthusiasm for blogging. I do not know.
What do you people think? Does this hold true for you too? Is there a cap on the number of “instruments” of time-waste a single person can handle? Drop in, with a word. 🙂