Hello, my name is Connie, and I’m a wilfer

Mon, Apr 23, 2020

In the News, Just for Fun

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Know that feeling you get when you walk into a room of your house and can’t remember why you’re there? A similar thing keeps happening to me online. I open a new browser tab and can’t remember what site I was about to visit or what topic I was about to Google.

Evidently I’m not the only one. A British study found that two out of three Internet users “lose significant portions of their time to irrelevant web browsing.” It’s known as wilfing, a term derived from the acronym WWILF, or “What Was I Looking For?”

The study showed that wilfers lose two working days a month to aimless browsing. Men do more wilfing than women; adult entertainment and online shopping sites are the two most common culprits. (You can guess which group indulges in which activity.)

Wilfing takes up two days a month? Ha! Those Brits are lightweights. I could probably wilf four days a month with one hand tied behind my browser.

I call it research, of course. Writer’s curiosity drives me to it. (Rationalization check. … Nah, I’m okay.)

C’mon. You know what I mean. You click on a blog link and get sidetracked on a subject you want to cover in a future post. And before you know it, a half-hour has passed … or more.

I don’t succumb to the lure of porn or Prada online. A news headline or a blog item that captures my imagination is usually what pulls me off the path of productivity.

Cluetrain author Dave Weinberger refers to wilfing as “part of what I call the rise of the miscellaneous.”

“The Net makes available a practical infinity of small bits that we can then sort through just about any way we want to. The big benefits are that we now can shape our world more closely around our genuine interests (as opposed to having to rely upon the guesses made by editors of various sorts) and we can discover rich relationships that enhance the meaningfulness of things and our understanding of them.

“The big disadvantage is that we get lost all the … time,” Weinberger continues.

I might be lost on the superhighway of cyberspace, but I’m not stopping and asking for directions. Somebody would probably guide me to a 12-step group. I’m not ready to introduce myself by saying, “Hello, my name is Connie.” (pause for deep breath) “And I’m a wilfer.”

This post was written by:

Connie Reece - who has written 142 posts on Every Dot Connects.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. annie Says:

    Somehow knowing it has a name makes me feel a little better.

  2. Cassandra Says:

    I think WWILF is too close to MILF, Connie. Don’t get dirty on this blog.

  3. Joseph Thornley Says:

    I’m late to the post. But it’s delightful! Now I know how I spend a significant portion of my life. I’m WWILFING!

    Thanks Connie, You gave me my smile for today.

  4. Connie Reece Says:

    And thanks to all of you for reading and commenting. It’s always a great day when I can make somebody smile!

  5. Marti Says:

    Yes. How’d I get here again? LOL

    Nice to know I’m not alone, and that’s even a name for it! Hope you have a great day in your wanderings.

  6. Danie Ware Says:

    Good to know there are other wilfers out there - virtual, actual and literary (sucker for reference books). Now - what was I saying..?

  7. steph Says:

    Guilty as charged…but wilfing has opened a new world of ideas for me!

  8. Ike Says:

    A Writer I’d Like to Find.