I don’t have a girlfriend giving me grief about too much time spent ‘on the computer’ like Mat does but still, what he’s saying resonates a lot with my doing and thinking in that matter.
I fail to understand why it could be wrong to want to consume as much knowledge as possible. It’s not as though I’m playing Minesweeper all day, nor am I watching videos of dogs in funny hats; I’m reading plenty of blogs, essays, news, analysis and synthesizing it for what it means for me and where I want to take my career. It’s important, even crucial I would say, that I not miss a beat, lest I start to look around and feel out of touch with the very Web whose future I’d like to help shape. “Old” you can quickly become, when you start neglecting the ever-changing web technology world.
Absolutely, all that information is not only one of the most interesting parts of my job, it’s also very important for the “profile” I have and from which contract often result.
My laptop has become the physical representation of countless stacks of old-media tomes, only more easily searchable, discoverable and digestable. Whole worlds of information, of all types, lie beyond the laptop screen; but the magnitude of that world of learning & exchange is rather invisible to other people.
Reminds me of my feed reading. It’s happened a number of times that if I mention reading up in the morning people are like “whaaa?? freak!”. Then I remind them that they pick up the paper and read news… I fire up the feed reader and read news. Why is it different?
Same if I have my laptop out in a cafe over the weekend. You’re working?? No (ok, sometimes yes), I’m reading. Novel is normal, laptop isn’t because it seems entirely different. Reading the same material on paper is mostly “intelligent time / learning” while reading it on the computer is “anti social”.