Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hello my name is Harry and I'm a clickaholic

My Dad is an engineer and he has always been an early adopter of technology. Back in 1995 when Shem Ochuodho's ARCC was the only ISP in Kenya we had a dial-up connection from our house in Njoro (a rural area 200km from Nairobi). We were just one of three people in the entire Nakuru district who had internet access and this meant that we used to get several "clients" from the nearby Egerton University who needed to send and receive emails abroad. My own time on the Internet though was limited; sadly every connection to the internet required a dial-up to ARCCs servers which were in Nairobi (a trunk call) which was relatively expensive. The few times I got to send or read an email though I do remember using a very "dos-like" interface where the mouse had no function.

Fast forward to the year 2000. Several ISPs had come up leading to a mushrooming of cyber cafes. My dad had since stopped subscribing to the dial-up service but was in need of an affordable way to send an receive email. I suggested that he open a Yahoo mail account.
I recall his narration of his first experience. "I couldn't access my e-mail, every thing was flashing "click here, click here" and when I clicked on it, the browser opened something entirely different from my e-mail."

So is the nature of the Internet up to now, from a text based application, we now have sophisticated multimedia available from our browsers. The greatest innovation of the Internet I believe though has been the hyperlink. It is not rare to enter an office and the only thing you can hear for hours is the sound of a clicking mouse.

As an entrepreneur searching for new ideas, I love the knowledge available on the Internet but at times I get carried away. It starts off harmlessly enough, I access a website to get some information. While reading I see an interesting link to another site and I open it in a new tab (Firefox diehard I am). Soon I have so many tabs that I have to scroll horizontally to see the ones on the extreme ends. I try to close some tabs but there is always another tempting link that keeps me constantly clicking and ensures the tabs remain.

Wikipedia takes first honours in the website I spend most time at, I might start of reading on High Yield Investment Programs and 5 hours later I am on a Vince McMahon article having navigated from internet financial businesses to pro wrestling promotions. Such is the power that the internet has over my information-hungry self.

Today you need to face up and ask yourself, are you addicted to clicking?


Sign up free to if your answer to the above question is yes.


S said...

Hi Harry,

Sadly (or not) i'm a recovered click-a-holic. I say sadly because there will be alot of useful information and interesting sites that i will miss since i don't click like a maniac anymore.

On the positive side, i always manage to do what i logged on my laptop to do without wandering off to some strange site.

I keep asking myself why i don't click anymore. I think i clicked all the possible places there are to click. I also "got over" my favorite sites. Any useless link (but seemingly useful in that moment) i book mark in IE but never visit it again (i'm a book mark junkie..good thing is i dump them all on IE ..its sort of my trash ware house)

I also adjusted some things like making my blog private, which means i don't have to spend precious minutes checking for comments! or following links to 300 Kenyan blogs! I also regained alot of my time when the aggregator stopped working. Now that my firefox won't book mark, i'll keep it that way, less sites to visit.

However any meaningful link i always book mark in Firefox (rather used to) , i have very few book marked sites and those are the sites that i absolutely have to visit daily (school, work, email: and 3 blogs mine, yours and another persons that rarely gets updated)

Sad thing, my firefox book mark won't bookmark any sites anymore, i haven't figured out why (for the lack of sites to book mark) it started one day when i plugged in after using a different connection (different apartments) and suddenly all my book marks disappeared. That was easy to sort, but i never got round to rectifying the book marking freeze.

Something always used to go wrong when i logged in two different connections after traveling its sort of like my laptop gets some kind of jetlag. I have very little faith in it.

I also don't have any RSS feeds (imagine that!) and any useful site that i absolutely have to visit must have a newsletter that comes straight to my inbox, and on a certain day of the week i read all the newsletters and articles guilt free (of course i multitask: i.e give half the attention to the person am chatting with..another suicidal activity!)
You too can manage your click-a-holism. Alternatively you could set a time when you can click like a maniac guilt free. Hard to impose sanctions on your self but once i calculated how many hours i waste in a month clicking on useless sites...i was shocked into good internet behaviour.

Look at it this way, clicking on irrelevant sites, is like windowshopping for hours non stop..miguu huchoka.. give the knuckles a break :)

By the way, part of my reform plan (not resolutions..that word has been used and abused it almost has no impact anymore) to manage all aspects of my life from a micro level.. from time management (insert less clicks) to finances... and i realised if you start from the micro level.. the big stuff will be easier to manage.

All the best

p.s sorry for digressing but i swear everything i said was relevant to your post :) plus i like to type.

Anonymous said...

about "I couldn't access my e-mail, every thing was flashing "click here, click here" and when I clicked on it, the browser opened something entirely different from my e-mail."


Harry Karanja said...


Thanks for the great comment. I'm going to try and start cutting down on my click time with some of the advice given. The RSS feeds will be hard to get rid of but I'll try (BBC News on Firefox and several on Google Desktop).

I found your writing style very interesting, any chance I can get invited to read your blogs? :)

Anonymous said...

I'll keep you in mind Harry when i'm sending out the invites.

p.s : I don't have any tool bars too :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm fred and i'm a click-a-holic. Let's start a support group ;-)