recommended reading

Why the Internet makes it hard to procrastinate

Nneirda/Shutterstock.com

This morning, the save-for-later service Pocket (formerly Read It Later) posted some highlights from a year's worth of user data. Among the stats: Users -- who now number at 7.4 million -- saved 240 million pieces of digital content over the year (compared to 170 million in the span between the service's launch in 2007 and 2011). And they save that content at a rate of 10.4 items per second.

Perhaps you are one of those users, and perhaps your mouse is hovering over a save-for-later button right at this moment. Before you click it, though, let me just say one thing: Those numbers are remarkable. And not just because they suggest the growth of the save-for-later mentality, but also because that mentality also has the potential to shift, just a little bit, the way we relate to all the stuff -- the videos, the essays, the listicles, the treatises, the cats -- that crosses our paths every day online. A defining psychic feature of the Internet is its immediacy, its urgency, its implicit demands on our time. Hereisthisthingyoushouldseerightnow. Alsothatthingisacatvideo.

That one feature, Internet as scheduler, shapes the web as a social space. Because the same tendency that makes 20 minutes a long time to take to reply to an email, and two minutes a long time to reply to a tweet, also means that, generally, the content that lives on it has an extraordinarily short shelf life. And that's true not just of "content" as in news stories, the stuff that loses most of its value when the term "new" no longer applies to it. It's also true of content as a more general category: long stories, deeply reported narratives, richly researched essays -- stuff that aims to endure. The stock of the Internet. 

Read more at The Atlantic.

(Image via Nneirda/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.