5 constructive ways to waste time on the internet

If I could quantify the hours I’ve spent browsing superfluous websites on the internet, I’d be father time. But I’m not. All I know is that the internet’s a wormhole of information, that may or may not be relevant at the time, but definitely makes for some great conversation starters.

And that’s exactly why it’s advantageous.

If you have a spare moment trapped in a boredom bubble — perhaps Monday is going to the dogs, or you’re two hours out from the Friday bell — the internet can help you out by teaching you a thing or two.

With that said, here are five foolproof ways of spending some time educating yourself while wasting time.

Browsing the history of today’s date on Wikipedia

Why: gain some awesome (but random) conversation starter ammo.

Yes, you could simply spend an entire day link-jumping from Wikipedia page to page, but where’s the challenge in that? Besides, you need an initial search query. What better to begin with than the current date?

Simply Google the current date with “Wikipedia” as a suf- or prefix and voila.

Wikipedia lists the date’s key events in history, the significant birthdays and deaths that’ve fallen on the date, as well as holidays from across the world observed on the day.

Learn about a random yet oddly-specific topic

Why: have you ever wanted to know more about pomegranates? Unicorns? Kim Kardashian? The invention of the wheel?

Stumbleupon is a vortex of interesting information topically compiled by users, arranged by the company, into relatable chunks. It’s like Reddit in many aspects, but instead of listing a number of links on a single page, StumbleUpon cycles through a number of websites seemingly ad infinitum. It’s a way to find content on specific topics without hassle, and an easy way to spend four hours reading about the complexities of turtles‘ lives.

Look for a fascinating new wallpaper

Why: why wouldn’t you want a new wallpaper?

Another mass of content lurks on DeviantArt, but instead of information, you’ll find some gorgeous user-submitted art. Although DeviantArt has largely petered out of general internet conversation of late, its content credibility remains and it’s still a great place to find unique wallpapers, avatars, cursors, and practically everything under the digital sun.

Gloss through a mass of infographics

Why: it’s much easier to learn odd facts through pictures.

Yes, obviously the entirety of Reddit is a definite time-waster, but have you ventured over to the r/Infographics subreddit lately? With a slew of information available using the visual template of infographics, you can learn practically anything from tying knots, to fixing your car’s engine to the names of the presidents of the world.

Discover what your favourite songs mean

Why: be the smartass who understands what The Lumineers are on about.

Have you ever fallen in love with a song to realise that you haven’t a clue what it means? SongMeanings is a site that tries to help. You can browse specific tracks and read its community’s explanations of the lyrics, or you can follow specific artists, and have new meanings sent to you daily.

While song descriptions are largely subjective and will differ from person to person, the site also boasts a little factoid blurb for each song.

Feature image: Richard Pope via Flickr

Andy Walker
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