The Nielsen Company, the marketing and media information powerhouse, today reported that the average U.S. citizen’s time spent on the Internet (work and home combined) was about 68 hours in September. Does this seem like a lot? Maybe, but it pales in comparison to television. TV watching in Q2 2009 averaged about 141 hours per month per Nielsen–more than double. And since the WWW figures incorporate work hours, we’re simply convinced that people aren’t goofing off on the Internet nearly enough at home.
There are ways to rectify this. We’d heartily recommend investing in a netbook and wireless router, so you can surf the Web from the comfort of your bed or couch. Indeed, you might even consider a sort of George Costanza-esque move, and watch TV at the same time (Nielsen says about 57% of people did this in Q2, an average of 2 hours, 39 minutes per month).
In the interest of helping new media rise to its rightful position as a better waster of time than traditional media, here are four Web sites that can destroy productivity:
— MyBrute.com. Did you ever think fights between cute, childlike creatures with vicious weapons and killer moves would be fun? What if we told you that you don’t even get to control the little bastards, just decide what they look like then force them to fight three times per day? We promise, it’s more addictive than you think, especially when your little moppet gains levels and, thus, weapons, armor, or, if you’re especially lucky, a pet bear.
Try it. We dare you.
— Phosphor Beta 2. Ever want to try one of those first-person shooter games, but didn’t feel like spending the money (or dealing with obnoxious ‘tweens that can pwn you without breaking a sweat? This is free, and you don’t have to play other people (in fact, the online multiplayer aspect is really buggy — this is a free beta, after all). And it’s all online; no downloads or installation necessary so long as you have Shockwave installed. It can take a while to load, though. But we can think of few better free, online options though which you can give that misplaced aggression a home. Sniper rifle is especially fun.
— Reddit. There’s a reason that social news Web sites like Digg are quite popular. Crowd-sourcing content (unlike crowd-sourcing branding, Mr. Newsom) generates a compelling mix, where readers can marvel as much as what becomes popular as appreciate the stories themselves. But we like Reddit.com the best of these sites. It’s less fussy, more raucous, and generally easy to find the funny. And should you join the site and become engaged in the voting process? Start reading the comments? Oy . . . participants especially must beware the immense power of this time vortex.
— OneManga.com. We’re afraid to even hat-tip this, because we’re not sure how legal the site is. But if you’ve ever enjoyed Japanese comics and cartoons, this site has a treasure trove of comics translated from the Japanese mere days after they come out in the country of origin. There’s stuff you might have heard of, like Bleach and One Piece . . . and stuff that you’ve never heard of, and might never check out again, but can get lost just browsing from weirdness to weirdness.
So, there you have it — contribute to your own delinquency and help our beloved Internet eclipse that also-ran TV in terms of hours frittered away. Suggestions for more time wasters welcome; send them to firstname.lastname@example.org please.
Oh, I guess we can’t be too hard on TV . . . after it gave us classics like: