When I’m on the internet, I like to open a million tabs.
I scan websites haphazardly, skimming over them and not always reading them in order. I like to look at the page like a whole picture, scrolling up and down until I find a piece I want to read. A lot of the time, I open a page and close it within seconds of checking it.
It definitely doesn’t sound mindful, and to a lot of people, it looks totally incomprehensible.
They would think that by opening ten different Reddit tabs and constantly going back to Facebook that it shows I am getting distracted and procrastinating. They might suggest skim reading 10 pages is less efficient than just reading one. Perhaps they think I make far too many bookmarks that I’ll never read them again.
But to me, it’s the purest form of my brain in action.
1. Work with your brain, not against it
My thoughts jump around, and so does my web browsing. My brain is full of references, hence my saved tabs are prolific. I’m quick to comprehend what I’m not interested in, so I don’t lose out by instantly dismissing pages at a glance. I have useful links on Facebook and Reddit that I can quickly extract.
This way works for my brain, and that’s more important than fitting in to what someone else thinks will be effective.
2. Customise your social media for maximum value
People often complain about Facebook being full of other people’s useless news, viral videos, and adverts.
But my Facebook is a cultivated, curated feed of beneficial information and positive socialisation.
The dumb meme pages? They are relatable, funny, and stimulating. The endless news articles? Are ones that I chose, from activists that I like, admire and support. The saccharine updates? The friends I’m subscribed to are people I like, and it makes me happy to see when they are succeeding.
Just because the platform wants and expects you to be a mindless consumer doesn’t mean that you have to be.
Another example of mindless-turned-mindful opportunity is email newsletters.
Widely acknowledged as a nuisance, if you change your perspective they are enormously useful.
3. Sign up to newsletters quickly; then let go of them easily
For a fast-moving browser like me, who navigates hundreds of pages a day, it’s the best way to stay in touch with a website you’re interested in. Signing up takes seconds, but now you can keep tabs on websites you like, and unsubscribe from the ones that you don’t.
Warning: The only site this hasn’t worked for me on is “The Times”. I unsubscribed several times, but the request fell on deaf ears. I had to mark them as spam, just to free my inbox.)
When using this tactic, consider using an alias address if needed, it’s a great way to filter your inbox and also keep your privacy.
Your browsing is about you
Ultimately, we all have our own definition of success and our own ways of achieving it. One person’s flippant and frantic web-browsing is another person’s high-intensity research session.
How do you use the internet? Do you ever sign up for websites, or are you signed up to everything under the sun? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading.
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Watch this short 6-minute video (NerdWriter – “How Dark Patterns Trick You Online”) for interesting information about how we are being manipulated by websites, and how to avoid it: