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Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Dangers of Virtual Rabbit Holes #ThinkyThursdays 20

Well this topic was easy to come up with because I just fell prey to a virtual rabbit hole - the internet is a dangerous place ;).

The Dangers of Virtual Rabbit Holes

We've all done it, haven't we. Clicked on that one link that has then led to another, and another, and another, until we look up two hours later and wonder why our eyes feel like they've been sandblasted.

For me this time I was looking for some traditional ghost stories to help inspire some short stories of my own. Unfortunately I found Listverse and it was downhill from there. Honestly, don't click on that link unless you want to lose a few hours :).

Sometimes its:
  • simply curiosity
  • research
  • the need to find a source
  • the need to dispute a fact
  • a recommendation
Anything can lead us to the entrance to the rabbit hole that sucks us down.

It's not always a bad thing. I now have some really interesting ideas floating around in my brain, inspired by a mixture of everything I have been reading. This afternoon when I put my head down for some serious writing, I hope to put those ideas in to words.

However, there is line between usefulness and procrastination.

Often is is a very thin line.

The internet is set up to entice us to click that one more link. It's the whole idea of the place :). We can lose whole days on clicking if we are not careful. Most of us are sponges for information and the internet offers so much. We simply want more and more.

Personally, I don't think it's possible to over-research a subject until, that is, we reach the point where the research becomes a block to actually creating what the research was for. We can usually feel that balancing point as well. We just have to remember to take note of it.

Here are some techniques to make sure the rabbit hole isn't too deep:
  • set a time limit for clicking
  • set a limit on the number of new pages to visit
  • make a mental agreement to stop when the same links start popping up as reference (because we all know they will)
  • make a mental agreement to stop when we have enough information for the project, rather than keeping going until we know everything
  • all of the above :).
I find the time limit the easiest, but the others also work if, when I started clicking, I didn't realise I was headed for a rabbit hole in the first place, like today. I stopped when I saw the same links popping up as suggested next visiting points. That's when I knew it was time to let my mouse rest a while.

In all honesty, virtual rabbit holes can be fun, that's the problem. We must be strong! ;)

What was the last virtual rabbit hole you vanished into? How did you drag yourself out?


  1. These "Rabbit-Holes", we have spent days dropping back in to delve even further along... Not much to do around this small town, dear Lady Tasha...
    A pleasant end of the week to you and yours...

    1. They can be fun - when time permits :)
      Thank you and to you.

  2. I fear that the longest rabbit-holes I've been swept down recently are all down to TV programmes... must find out why/what/when whatever was xyz.... Like when should Jamaican food be prepared? (After watching Gordon Ramsey.)

    1. What did we do before Google? It is quite amazing all the information that is online these days. :)

  3. Oh man, I've been down a few rabbit holes. I think the most recent one was when I found Patreon and was curious if such a platform would work for writers. Lost an entire day or thereabouts. Got out of it by not going back the next day. ;)

    I'm scared to click on the Listverse link...

    1. It's so tempting to try out everything isn't it. Sometimes the only way to resist is to simply say no :) Listverse is dangerous - I did go back, but I was strict with myself the second time ;)

  4. Ahh. I am just reading your post today because I too limit the time I sit at my computer. If not, I would be here forever.

    1. Some much wonderful information to absorb! Sometimes we just have to be strict with ourselves :D


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