‘Research’ vs ‘Doing Nothing On The Internet’

As I haven’t been feeling well this week, I’ve been aimlessly scrolling on the internet for a larger chunk of it than I normally would. I usually try to stop myself, because I don’t feel it’s productive…I mean, it’s not actual work, is it? It’s just consuming other people’s tantrums and dramas, seeing what someone ate for breakfast (why should I care?) and catching up on what the Kardashians are doing (although all I know about them is that Kim has a famous ass). Social media isn’t beneficial and definitely isn’t work, if you follow the cliches of society. I really should be doing something more productive and creative.

And then I actually thought about that line of reasoning.

My last two story ideas came from something I saw on Rejected Princesses, and a story on Twitter. I know I’m picking up bits and pieces of information as I scroll – archaeology, history, modern places, people’s reactions, photographs. Yes, there’s a lot that’s not immediately useful, and I think I do still need to limit the time I spend ‘doing nothing’.

But actually, this is research. This is stepping back, and letting the world come in – and it is the world! It’s the voices from outside my quiet streets, outside the slice of life I interact with every day. I need this to pop my bubble and remind me there are a multitude of ways of thinking, speaking, talking, living. Admittedly it’s often hard to read and there’s a lot of shit, but I’m lucky that I follow and know some enthusiastic, passionate and interesting people, and every day they teach me something new.

It’s not creation, but it is connection. It’s not doing the jigsaw but it’s collecting the tiles that will one day make one. It’s not talking to ‘real’ people – but it’s connecting to strangers on the far side of the world who become friends, and sharing passions across huge divides. It’s not getting out in the fresh air, but it is seeing pictures of places that I can never hope to visit – ancient, futuristic, or just on the far side of the world.

So I’m just scrolling through the pages, yes. But I’m also researching.