Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hey, You at the Computer, Hoarding Links is a Mental Ilness

Step away from the keyboard, we're going to get you some help.

From Cracked

5 Creeping Forms of Madness the Internet Is Spreading
The Internet is making us all crazy. And I'm not talking about the obvious stuff, like third graders screaming racial epithets over Xbox Live, 4chan stalking, or YouTube (literally anything YouTube; it's all nutbars and crazyshakes up in that place). There is a subtle and creeping type of madness slipping into us as we stare numbly at our monitors, digesting an endless stream of cats adorably failing to do things. Mental disorders that have always been present, in some form, but are now becoming commonplace. Disorders like ...

#5. Link Hoarding
For me, it all started with work. I have to know things. It is part of my job to find the ridiculous -- to collect, catalog, and comment on the outlandish and strange information out there. So I started with the gateway drug: bookmarks. I began manually bookmarking every interesting link I found, and at first, I sorted through them every single week. All was right with the world.

But then saving useful links wasn't enough anymore.

Maybe I should expand my focus beyond interesting scientific studies and pop culture theories, I thought. Maybe I can use these badass random images in my columns. Maybe I can find a use for this crazy Chinese shovel that can do everything. Maybe I can somehow pair it with this Chinese man crashing his scooter like 18 times. Maybe there's a link there that I can't see right now -- better save both, just to be sure.

Soon there were too many links to sort through every week, and after several months of buildup, I deleted that folder entirely. Not because I knew I had a problem, but because there were better ways to hoard links. I didn't notice I was smoking too much weed and decided to take a break; I noticed I was smoking too much weed and figured out that heroin would be more efficient.

I began downloading apps. I installed Instapaper and Dropbox, started using the "save" feature on Reddit. And let me tell you, brother, it is great!

Now I never have to read anything ever again.

Instead of clicking links, perusing their content, and then collecting that knowledge in my head, I now collect it on an external service just in case I want it later (spoiler: I apparently do not!). It's like building a library so you have somewhere to store the unread books that keep piling up on your nightstand.

#4. Impulse Gaming
I have done it: I have broken 100 games in my personal Steam collection.

How did I find so much time to game when I work a beyond-full-time day job and write books in my off hours, all while balancing a relationship and a social life? Simple!

I don't play them.

Well, that's not entirely fair. I have played perhaps 75 of those 100. It's just that, of those 75, I have only played about 50 for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. Of the 25 I haven't played at all, I knew, even at the time of purchase, that I was never going to play them.

It's not the same thing as link hoarding: I wasn't collecting them because I thought I might need them later. It's because they were only $3! $7! Only $10 for the whole collection, marked down from fucking $600! At that price, my brain says, you would be stupid not to buy this thing that you don't want and will never use!...MUCH MORE