Happy weekend, folks - Yes, even those of us in the world of the unemployed still enjoy weekends... That's because the wife and kids are around to help pass the time. I spent some of my time this morning reading the Sunday Washington Post magazine, and the wonderful article that lists 209 once-commonplace things that have become obsolete. Here's a choice example of something that has gone by the wayside, thanks, in this case, to the internet -
Doing Nothing at the Office
b. 1853 -- d. mid-1990s
The 20th century's best minds might have brought us many wonders fantastic (Decaf soy lattes! Shoulder-fired missiles! Plastic!), but what is truly stunning is the number of office hours Americans clocked during those same years doing . . . nothing much. Taking a cigarette break could sometimes nudge the minute hand a little. The water cooler was also created for this purpose. And paper clips. But in those many empty moments between tasks, much time was spent staring into space.
"When I started in the early '80s, there were word-processing centers," recalls attorney Howard Gutman, a partner at Williams & Connolly. "A 120-page brief could take two hours, and one mistake and you'd have to do it over again. Printing places would vie for business by having beds and food. If you were a young lawyer, sitting and waiting there really was your job."
Idle time's death knell was the Internet, which created a way to fill every moment while giving the appearance of productivity. The joys of making wastebasket two-pointers and using Scotch tape to extract nasal blackheads pale when compared with the minute-hand-massaging possibilities of Craigslist and YouTube.
According to Nielsen ratings, the average American visits more than 2,000 Web pages a month while on the clock; surveys by Vault.com suggest that close to 90 percent of workers spend part of their day doing Internet browsing that's unrelated to work.
This last factoid, of course, means that most of you are reading this at work... on the internet... the place where many more of you are now getting most, if not all of your news.... the place where advertisers are spending more and more of their dollars, at the expense of radio. Which explains all too well why radio news has joined the list of the obsolescent! Hmmm...