We don’t need no stinking productivity

Please don’t read this at work! I’d feel terrible to cut into your workday after seeing the AdAge article that says 35 million U.S. workers will spend an average of 3.5 hours per workweek reading blogs. That purportedly equates to 551,000 years of wasted effort. I’d point you to AdAge to learn more but be aware the site requires a free registration which may only further contribute to you e-malingering.

In all seriousness I consider workplace distraction a serious problem. As regards blogs I have a friend (honestly, it isn’t me!) who used to read a lot of blogs, and kicked the habit during a job change so as not to get off on the wrong foot. This is non-trivial issue. If the time losses are of this magnitude, corporate America will have to find ways to discourage reading, and publishers will have to adapt. Editing and filtering, both human and technological, will be prized. At least so I hope.

Speaking of filtering, a piece in Wired News talks about “Memeorandum (a site) which started with a focus on political blogs in 2004 and launched a technology version just weeks ago … It attempts to solve the problem of information overload with a few smart algorithms that constantly track the hot topics in tech and politics blogs.” In other words, editing — in this case machine-wise — to provide a one-stop shop for certain types of information.

I wonder how long before we have a mass extinction of blogs and online media, if it is not in fact already occurring — and what will evolve to take the place of the Web’s current flora and fauna?

Finally, when it comes to time wasting nothing beats television. Last week you may recall I wrote about a study that, I infer, suggests we are approaching the media saturation point. Independently, Nielsen Media Research recently reported that “the average American home watched more television the past TV season vs. any previous TV season.” The precise figure was 8 hours and 11 minutes per day, “the highest levels ever reported since television viewing was first measured by Nielsen Research in the 1950s.”

That explains a lot about American society, culture, values and politics. In summary, media consumption at work: bad. Media consumption at home: worse. For goodness sake, stop reading and do something constructive!

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media