Wasting time

It’s odd that, in an era when we are more time-poor than ever, we are using technology to come up with ever more sophisticated ways to waste time. Take social media as an example. I’m not a great Twitter user and only follow 12 other users, mostly trade magazines. Even so, my Twitter feed of yesterday included 172 Tweets with fewer than 9% of any interest.

What of Facebook? Again, I’m not a heavy user but there were 73 threads on my FB page of which 23% were of interest. I opened only 40% of my emails: the rest, including those in the Junk folder, were deleted unread. Of those I opened, 10% were from LinkedIn but I probably only clicked on three or four stories of which, possibly two were of real interest yet I still feel compelled to go through all the headings just in case.

It seems the price of all the benefits of instantaneous communication is time spent shovelling all the dross out of our computer systems. Yes, I know that email systems can be set to automatically direct mails from specific sources into a junk email box. That’s fine as far as it goes but there’s nothing that I’m aware of yet that can sift out the close-to-blatant sales messages in LinkedIn or scan the emails from trade associations to pick out the ones that really might be interesting.

As a result, we all spend far too much time each day trawling through dross that we would never have had to look at a few years ago. I expect that one day soon, somebody will work out how many years the average person spends on this activity during their working life. The trouble is that it’s getting worse.

Maybe one day somebody will come up with a program that can monitor everything that comes through and be taught to filter out the useless stuff from every source.

Whoever comes up with that will make a fortune.



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