Inspired by the incredible accessibility of all the data all the time, I often spend my lunch wikislogging through the internet as a way to entertain myself while I eat. It’s a bad habit, I’m sure, but there is something appealing about following where the links take me, so that I can read about obscure TV Shows, senators that were the first to do some such thing or other in a state I can’t remember, and when certain countys were incorporated for the first time. I rationalize the behavior by explaining that, at least, I’m not adding another show to my growing list of televisual responsibilities, or that at least I’m not spending money on comics to read while I eat. But the truth of the matter is that I like to be entertained, and find the world around me endlessly fascinating, so much so that I can’t stand loosing the time I could be reading merely so I can ingest sustenance.
Wikislogging is a bit like wikiracing, except that when I first started doing this, wikiracing hadn’t yet been coined, and I never used “wikislogging” until after I first heard about “wikiracing.” Where wikiracing is often competitive, and players are often looking for speed or least number of clicks in terms of the paths they choose to follow, wikislogging is a solo endeavor, involves using the “random article” button liberally, and following many tangents and tributaries as interest warrants. I like to employ new tabs often, when I come across something I’d like to read later, but am far too engrossed in the current article to follow that link just yet. Basically, I let Wikipedia’s random algorithm and my own odd interests create the strangest and least-organized reading experience I can possible muster.
What is fascinating is that this past time really has become more like slogging as time goes on, only because there are so many Wikipedia articles these days that 99% of the things you find are stubs for towns, obscure political figures, an arbitrary year in history, and a host of other things that seem extremely dry, and often a waste of bandwidth. When I first started doing this, in 2006 or so, I remember having a very high hit ratio when it came to finding interesting articles. These days, I need to click random far too often. In many ways, I can see this hobby having a very distinct shelf-life. Before long, there will just be too many articles accessible. So much of what we’ll find on Wikipedia will be referents that point to things in the real world, in an attempt to document them all, that essays and articles that analyze these real world things will be lost in the noise.
If only you could remember how to search for them properly.