Novelette

Digital Wandering

Almost unconciously, I browse the internet. It really is a habit, I’ll be sitting on my computer and the next thing I know I’m 7 minutes in to a video about 18th century American frontier cooking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very interesting and it’s something I would like to watch, but you’re sitting there and you ask yourself how you got there. I logically know that I clicked on one video, which lead to the next and that’s how I got there, but it’s the
being somewhere where you didn’t intentionally mean to go to.

I wonder to myself if it’s really worth it to search the internet in such a way. I find myself looking at, and reading mildly amusing content for hours at a time, and I enjoy the process, but it feels like an unhealthy habit. In the time I spend doing this daily, I only really come across a couple of things that are truely interesting, meaninful, or useful in any way. But those select times where you come across something that is truely great feel really rewarding. I mean just recently I come across a guy who is working in Japanese -> English technical translation, doing the exact thing I was thinking of doing and he’s open to talking about it. While the things he talked about in the way of career advice were kind of obvious, it was interesting to see that the work actually existed, and that it was actually in high demand. He was kind of shoehorned in to it by his engineering firm. He talked about how he just had an interest in reading Japanese novels beforehand, but it was his company that really needed Japanese documents translated, that really got him to learn. A sink-or-swim sort of deal.

After thinking about it some more, I think the probablity of finding the REALLY interesting stuff comes from going on the smaller niche hobby forums, and taking part in them. Just about any time I have had anything that really stuck out to me as being really rewarding, it has been in that exact situation, I’m in a niche place and I find someone / something cool. I could probably cut out all the memetic studies, fluff, and ego stroking political content, and just do the weird niche stuff…. And I’d probably be better off.

But who knows where the next serendipitous thing will come from. It always seems to be the oddest places.