Back in the day when I used to have cable TV, I would end every work day with some zone-out time channel surfing for an hour of two before bed. I would steer toward the crime procedurals, 80s action movies, billiards tournaments — anything that involved no intellectual thought whatsoever. I would often regret it the next day, vowing to read a book or listen to music or clear out my personal in-box. But inevitably I would find myself in front of the TV again well past midnight watching a "CSI Miami" marathon.
Now that I don't have cable television, I hardly miss it at all. The few shows I want to watch can usually be found online. And I get the smug satisfaction of telling other people in the midst of conversations, "Oh I haven't watched [some television show]. You see, I don't watch television anymore."
That said, the desire to zone out still persists. And I've found that I have smoothly replaced my TV veg-out time with online veg-out time. Call it "Multi-slacking."
I have my laptop carefully set up to pull in all of my favorite no-brainer online content:
- RSS feeds from dozens of nerdy blogs (Wil Wheaton, Gizmodo, Massively, etc.)
- YouTube subscriptions to various silly video feeds (lil Shaolin, Torley, Hypno, etc.)
- Silly Podcasts like "The Onion" and "Diggnation"
- Tweetdeck to fill my monitor with Twitter updates I'm following
- Facebook to surf through the reports of my "friends" banal lives
- Aimless teleporting around in Second Life…
- … and the list goes on.
I still find myself wiling away the late night hours doing frivolous surfing, except this time its with a trackpad and a 15-inch monitor instead of a remote control and a 24-inch television.
The more things change…