The return of planless surfing

Posted by Martin Vilcans on 26 June 2005

I've noticed that I care less about adding bookmarks for interesting sites, and just google for them when I need to find them again. Perhaps this is because my bookmark collections have a tendency to become unwieldy when I just add everything to it. (Firefox has a bookmark search function that should help a lot, but I didn't see that function until just now, although it's right there.) The interesting thing is that when I google for sites instead of locating them via a bookmark is that I often find other interesting sites. For example, a few months ago I registered on the site Filmtipset, which is a swedish community for film lovers. When I wanted to login again today to see if there are any good movies on TV tonight (which is one of the nice features on the site), I first tried, but when the server was slow to respond, I assumed the domain was something else, so I googled for "Filmtipset". Google of course found the site, but also returned several hits which referred to it. Henrik Torstensson's blog entry sounded interesting, so I read it, and a few more of his entries and followed his link to the article in Wired about The Long Tail. So I still haven't got around to actually log in to Filmtipset.

Maybe it's just me, but I think the web in some ways has returned to its roots. Back in the mid-90s, you could surf for hours, following links from one site to the next, finding interesting content. Then the commercial interests took over, and the web got more boring, while also becoming more useful. Sites became separate universes, without intercommunication. Lately, during the last year or so, this has changed. Perhaps it's the blogs, perhaps it's the Wikis, but the web has become more of an open discussion forum again. It is again enjoyable to surf the web planlessly, and I can do it for hours again.

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