Now I'm a big fan of the internet. Internetting has been a major pastime of mine for the last six years or so. If I'd had decent internet not of the "you better have a book to read while this page is loading" variety, I likely would have been on even sooner. Despite my appreciation, there is a line to draw when it comes to mindless surfing. There's a serious glut of information on the internet and at some point even the most voracious of users have to admit that you cannot consume this much content in several lifetimes. Here are the Top 5 ways to get to the point of serious uselessness on the internet. I post these not to encourage the 18-hour-a-day screen-gazing habit, but as a niggling suggestion for frequenters of these sites to maybe, perhaps, check up on themselves after the fourth hour straight of non-productivity. Just because you ditched cable for Netflix doesn't mean that the computer can be any less of a time-waster than TV.
Oh sweet, sweet information. The glory of numbered lists! Pop culture and history and science? Be still my heart. Cracked might be named for its ability to crack people up laughing, but I consider it named for its addicting nature. The lists and articles trail back for years and each is worth a read, appealing especially to my occasionally bitter, usually idiotic sense of humor. There's even a handy "random" button, but we'll get to those depressors of Satan later.
4.) TV Tropes
If you haven't heard of tvtropes.com, I'm glad. No, don't highlight, right-click, and click "Go to tvtropes.com". I'm just kidding. Go ahead. Open it in a new tab, though! You are reading my blog right now after all. TV Tropes is a special mix of literary and pop culture decadence that offers the satisfying feeling of recognizing cliches in the films you watch and the books you read while simultaneously introducing you to way too many other tv shows, books, comic books, webcomics, and video games that use the same devices. You may get on there looking for a name for a particular trope and an hour later you resurface after clicking through to related character tropes or plot tropes. Sometime after that, you realize there is a goddamn "random" button and you promptly lose your day to becoming a slightly snarkier and better-read individual with worsening eyesight.
3.) The "Random" Button on Any Decent Website
Hoo boy. Remember when I said I'd get back to the "random" button? Yeah. It's that extra dose of addiction on an already decent website. You may visit a blog, webcomic, or any other website you find appealing and spend a decent amount of time there. You get updated, poke around the news section, and get off like a normal internet-enabled human being. Why would I wade around the archives?, you ask yourself reasonably. I go on here pretty often. If I miss something, then oh well. But then your myopic eyes fall upon a handy-dandy random button. One day, during a bought of boredom, you press it. You read and enjoy something from two years ago. Hey that's cool. I barely remember that article. You press again. And again. And again. You wake up with your face smushed against the shallow keys of your laptop to find it's 2pm. Boom. You've traded your temporal sanity for convenient info-gorging. It's not about the site itself; it's the sheer novelty and ease-of-use that button brings. You can go to Wikipedia and smash the "random" button to find out anything and everything without ever having an end to your means. It's madness.
By the time I'm writing this, most people have heard about Tumblr even if they're not on it. Most people form one of two opinions: 1.) I've got to get my ass on that. or 2.) Holy shit these people are nuts. Tumblr is a sort of microblogging platform that seems to mix the increasingly niche bloggers of LiveJournal with the community feeling of an actual social network. You can read posts by the people you follow by scrolling along a dashboard. People can post incredibly long text blogs, a single picture, a cacophony of .gifs, a piece of music, a video, or they can do this magical thing called "reblog" wherein they post something someone else has posted with the option to add to the flow of commentary from the others who have reblogged the same post. There are also tags by which a blog post can be identified by its subject...if one decides to use tags properly. Otherwise people use them as a sort of mumbling under your breath or subheader beneath the actual post. You can follow tags and see what people from all over post relating to that tag.
By the way, are you a fan of a particular tv show? Band? Movie? Brand of coffee shop? Tumblr has a way of generating fandoms. A lot of people can find a lot of other people interested in the same teeny-tiny thing they happen to enjoy. Before you know it, there are 40,000 American mostly-female mostly-teenagers posting about BBC's miniseries Sherlock. I know of a few students who spin stories about the misadventures of foreign politicians based off of candid pictures of them looking foolish. The can be described as "loliticians", a play on "lol" and "politicians". It's crazy, it's bloody hilarious, and (help me) I spend a good three hours a day on Tumblr sifting though all of this stuff.
1.) The Stumblebutton
Don't do it. Don't. Do not. I was joking with tvtropes, but I'm serious here. The Stumble Button is an invitation to internet wormhole perdition.