wilfing – what was I looking for?
You sit down at your computer, intending to do a work-related search, or maybe check your email, or your bank balance, and the next thing you know, you’re researching swimming holes in Maine or following up on one of Sartorialist‘s pics looking for the perfect pair of dress shoes. This phenomenon, dubbed wilfing, is that strange sensation of forgetting what you were doing in the first place: what was I looking for?
As the internet purports to make our lives easier, and 24/7 connectivity enables us to travel the world from our desks, wilfing becomes a greater threat to our focus. Something went wrong in your code? Start googling for solutions, but then, Oh look! A really interesting article on CSS! Wow look at his designs, they are so cool. Oh my god, that background, I have to have it! Ooooh pretty pictures. I think I need a new desktop. Where was that photo taken? I think I need a vacation. Let me research hotel and airfare rates. OMG! The delays in air travel this summer…this article reminds me of that time I lost two vacation days waiting in the airport….and on and on it goes.
Before long, you’ve forgotten what you were looking for in the first place. In this example, it’s a google search for some HTML tips and then, blammo!, you’re frothing at the mouth, shaking your fist at the ineptitude of commercial airlines and how awful it is to fly. Ah, the modern age.