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Using clear, readable prose, conceptual artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s manifesto shows how our time on the Internet is not really wasted but is quite productive and creative as he puts the experience in its proper theoretical and philosophical context. Kenneth Goldsmith wants you to rethink the Internet. Many people feel guilty after spending hours watching cat videos Using clear, readable prose, conceptual artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s manifesto shows how our time on the Internet is not really wasted but is quite productive and creative as he puts the experience in its proper theoretical and philosophical context. Kenneth Goldsmith wants you to rethink the Internet. Many people feel guilty after spending hours watching cat videos or clicking link after link after link. But Goldsmith sees that “wasted” time differently. Unlike old media, the Internet demands active engagement—and it’s actually making us more social, more creative, even more productive. When Goldsmith, a renowned conceptual artist and poet, introduced a class at the University of Pennsylvania called “Wasting Time on the Internet”, he nearly broke the Internet. The New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Slate, Vice, Time, CNN, the Telegraph, and many more, ran articles expressing their shock, dismay, and, ultimately, their curiosity. Goldsmith’s ideas struck a nerve, because they are brilliantly subversive—and endlessly shareable. In Wasting Time on the Internet, Goldsmith expands upon his provocative insights, contending that our digital lives are remaking human experience. When we’re “wasting time,” we’re actually creating a culture of collaboration. We’re reading and writing more—and quite differently. And we’re turning concepts of authority and authenticity upside-down. The Internet puts us in a state between deep focus and subconscious flow, a state that Goldsmith argues is ideal for creativity. Where that creativity takes us will be one of the stories of the twenty-first century. Wide-ranging, counterintuitive, engrossing, unpredictable—like the Internet itself—Wasting Time on the Internet is the manifesto you didn’t know you needed.


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Using clear, readable prose, conceptual artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s manifesto shows how our time on the Internet is not really wasted but is quite productive and creative as he puts the experience in its proper theoretical and philosophical context. Kenneth Goldsmith wants you to rethink the Internet. Many people feel guilty after spending hours watching cat videos Using clear, readable prose, conceptual artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s manifesto shows how our time on the Internet is not really wasted but is quite productive and creative as he puts the experience in its proper theoretical and philosophical context. Kenneth Goldsmith wants you to rethink the Internet. Many people feel guilty after spending hours watching cat videos or clicking link after link after link. But Goldsmith sees that “wasted” time differently. Unlike old media, the Internet demands active engagement—and it’s actually making us more social, more creative, even more productive. When Goldsmith, a renowned conceptual artist and poet, introduced a class at the University of Pennsylvania called “Wasting Time on the Internet”, he nearly broke the Internet. The New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, Slate, Vice, Time, CNN, the Telegraph, and many more, ran articles expressing their shock, dismay, and, ultimately, their curiosity. Goldsmith’s ideas struck a nerve, because they are brilliantly subversive—and endlessly shareable. In Wasting Time on the Internet, Goldsmith expands upon his provocative insights, contending that our digital lives are remaking human experience. When we’re “wasting time,” we’re actually creating a culture of collaboration. We’re reading and writing more—and quite differently. And we’re turning concepts of authority and authenticity upside-down. The Internet puts us in a state between deep focus and subconscious flow, a state that Goldsmith argues is ideal for creativity. Where that creativity takes us will be one of the stories of the twenty-first century. Wide-ranging, counterintuitive, engrossing, unpredictable—like the Internet itself—Wasting Time on the Internet is the manifesto you didn’t know you needed.

30 review for Wasting Time on the Internet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Morris

    Full review to come. Unbiased rating based upon a copy won through the Goodreads First Reads program.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This started out super interesting. It is authored by a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who actually taught a class called "Wasting Time on the Internet" -- a social science look at how we spend our time when we are doodling around out there. Some of the class exercises included: * Data duels - two people exchange laptops, stand back to back, walk 10 paces, then turn around and delete one document from the other's computer (and empty the trash so there's no getting it back), and close This started out super interesting. It is authored by a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who actually taught a class called "Wasting Time on the Internet" -- a social science look at how we spend our time when we are doodling around out there. Some of the class exercises included: * Data duels - two people exchange laptops, stand back to back, walk 10 paces, then turn around and delete one document from the other's computer (and empty the trash so there's no getting it back), and close all windows so there's no way to know what was deleted. * Work as a group to invent a rumor. Spread the rumor on as many social media sites as possible. * See who can tally the largest dollar amount in their Amazon shopping cart in 15 minutes time. The winner spent $23,475,104.18 by adding vintage stamps, sports memorabilia, and jewelry. There were many other things this class tried as a group. At one point, class members were asked to stand up and share the formulas they use to create passwords. Turns out, passwords are highly personal and often contain some clues as to what means the most to us. Can you imagine sharing yours? Would you be embarrassed to admit what those numbers and letters represent for you? So while it's true that we are in a sense wasting time when we are online, another perspective is that we are actually highly engaged and connected to others. We are seeking connection. The book bogged down a bit for me in the second half as it became more academic in nature. Finished it but I skimmed so it didn't stay with me. Decent enough for the food for thought the first few chapters provided.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    A friend made an astute comparison: Goldsmith is a bit like Dawkins. They both have an essentially reasonable argument to make, but are so one-dimensional and strident in their advocacy that even as an atheist and someone who thinks the internet is mainly a good thing for human intelligence, interaction and creativity, I can't help but kinda despise them. Anyway the good bits are where Goldsmith shows how we are actually engaging more with each other and with our own creativity via social media, A friend made an astute comparison: Goldsmith is a bit like Dawkins. They both have an essentially reasonable argument to make, but are so one-dimensional and strident in their advocacy that even as an atheist and someone who thinks the internet is mainly a good thing for human intelligence, interaction and creativity, I can't help but kinda despise them. Anyway the good bits are where Goldsmith shows how we are actually engaging more with each other and with our own creativity via social media, especially on those pesky mobile phone apps today's Jeremiahs love to lament. He describes snippets from his eponymous course to show how much the way we work and play on the internet is a part of our lives now, for good or ill, and interesting ways to subvert and examine that experience. Then he delves into tired post modern questions of authorship (I do think our traditional conceptions of authorship and creativity are wrong and limited, but I also think this is actually nothing new, and that some form of copyright law is important to protect artists' livelihoods as long we labour under a currency based capitalist system) and a somewhat gratuitous overview of conceptual art created around the internet and the ambiguity of authorship. These sections are either trite, questionable because of the author's hobby horse taking over the ride, or just irrelevant to what the internet means to many of us. So, this is overall a mixed bag. A good piece of advocacy for the benefits of our increasingly digital orientations, but also a bit too focused on what all this means, or seems to mean, to self-proclaimed avant-gardists.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    1. Interesting ideas and tidbits but no coherent theme that could help me tell you what this book was about exactly. 2. Excessive use of the term "meatspace" to describe IRL interactions (>0). 3. I think it is ironic that I wasted time NOT on the internet reading Wasting Time on the Internet. 1. Interesting ideas and tidbits but no coherent theme that could help me tell you what this book was about exactly. 2. Excessive use of the term "meatspace" to describe IRL interactions (>0). 3. I think it is ironic that I wasted time NOT on the internet reading Wasting Time on the Internet.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Kate

    The introduction offered so much promise but it turned out to be mainly descriptions of the activities Goldsmith had his students do in his university class 'Wasting Time on the Internet'.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    Fascinating.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Once upon a time, a "professor" (term used loosely) put a whole bunch of students in a room with laptops and the internet. He didn't have a real topic, he didn't really aim to teach them anything, and he considers the fact that they spent 3 hours a week watching internet memes and chatting with each other about music videos to be a resounding educational success. Goldsmith claims that the experience was worthwhile because students "while wasting time on the Internet, triggered a series of electr Once upon a time, a "professor" (term used loosely) put a whole bunch of students in a room with laptops and the internet. He didn't have a real topic, he didn't really aim to teach them anything, and he considers the fact that they spent 3 hours a week watching internet memes and chatting with each other about music videos to be a resounding educational success. Goldsmith claims that the experience was worthwhile because students "while wasting time on the Internet, triggered a series of electric responses that pieced every body and mind in the room." UPenn costs about $75K a year to attend according to their website. Over four years, let's hope that they get something for their $300K other than classes led by conceptual artists without lesson plans. I read this book as a counterbalance to Postman and other "medium is the message" doomsayers that point to the move away from a literary culture as being universally negative. I agree with some of the points Goldsmith raises about how time on the internet is normally self directed and deeper than it might appear, but he comes across as someone that is willfully ignorant about what is meant by "wasting time" to begin with. People can FEEL social through social media, despite evidence that people are more depressed and civil society is shrinking. People can FEEL more informed because they're consuming more news, but the news is second hand and superficial, and self-selected to feed biases. Overall, a poor book that reads more like a blog post than anything else - which... is fitting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I don't know that this is a 5-star book, really, but it was fascinating, and it made me think about ways that life can be its own sort of art object, and how minutae can be sometimes sublime. The book introduced me to a lot of new artists and writers, and expanded my notion of what art can be (creating giant Instagram photos from other people's accounts and exhibiting them, for instance). Goldsmith also pushes back against the common complaint that our devices make us less connected to each othe I don't know that this is a 5-star book, really, but it was fascinating, and it made me think about ways that life can be its own sort of art object, and how minutae can be sometimes sublime. The book introduced me to a lot of new artists and writers, and expanded my notion of what art can be (creating giant Instagram photos from other people's accounts and exhibiting them, for instance). Goldsmith also pushes back against the common complaint that our devices make us less connected to each other and less focused, and I found (some of) his arguments convincing, especially when he described how his kids and their friends hang out together while they're on their phones and how they bond that way. I was inspired by the creativity here, for sure.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie Smith

    After 100 pages oozing with pretension I had to quit. It read like a graduate philosophy student was trying to persuade his professor that it was okay to stay glued to his phone during class. Also, the ways to waste time on the internet in the back were a joke. Seriously, what on earth is the point of these exercises? Maybe things are different in New York City and people constantly being glued to their devices when in the presence of others is considered to be acceptable and not rude. Maybe Gold After 100 pages oozing with pretension I had to quit. It read like a graduate philosophy student was trying to persuade his professor that it was okay to stay glued to his phone during class. Also, the ways to waste time on the internet in the back were a joke. Seriously, what on earth is the point of these exercises? Maybe things are different in New York City and people constantly being glued to their devices when in the presence of others is considered to be acceptable and not rude. Maybe Goldsmith wants to live his life absorbed in cyberspace with people he will most likely never meet, collection information he will hardly remember tomorrow. I certainly do not.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    I wasted time reading this when I could have been on the internet instead. There's a lot of pretentious art theory nonsense in here which the author probably thinks sounds clever, provocative and challenging but in fact bears little relationship to the real world or how people actually use the internet. Some good ideas shine through, and Goldsmith makes some useful links back to literary and art history, but the rest is tiresome and self-indulgent.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    A conceptual artist takes an amiably contrarian look at issues over which there is much hand wringing these days, challenging our ideas about what it means to be social, present, creative, etc. If he had shaved off 50 or even 100 pages, I could have given it a fifth star.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dan Power

    glad i've finished this book bc now i get to spend time on goodreads again!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather L.

    Helarious. Might have to buy this book and give some of these a shot on a slow day 😂

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I saw a cover shot and a short blurb review for this in a magazine and thought it seemed like it should be an amusing bit of fluff, so I picked it up the next time I went to the library. I should have remembered the old adage about books and their covers. The introduction and first chapter are fun, especially when the author writes about the actual college course he presented called "Wasting Time on the Internet." It's a pretty interesting study in group dynamics and modern tech habits. There's p I saw a cover shot and a short blurb review for this in a magazine and thought it seemed like it should be an amusing bit of fluff, so I picked it up the next time I went to the library. I should have remembered the old adage about books and their covers. The introduction and first chapter are fun, especially when the author writes about the actual college course he presented called "Wasting Time on the Internet." It's a pretty interesting study in group dynamics and modern tech habits. There's probably a pretty cool documentary to be made there. But then Goldsmith stops being anecdotal and gets academic. The rest of the chapters basically outline how decades or even centuries ago various writers, painters, photographers and other artists were doing the same things being done now on the internet or roughly predicted how we would behave when something like the internet came to be. His comparison of art history and the internet seems to point to the conclusions that everything old is new again (or "All this has happened before, and all this will happen again") and that the democratization effect of the internet makes us all artists in our own right if we so choose to declare our time wasting as such. All this is not as fun as the first chunks, but tolerably interesting. I had to grit my teeth while reading the back-of-the-book list of 101 suggestions of how to waste time on the internet as so many of them depend on pranking, annoying, inconveniencing or disrespecting other people. "How to be an asshole on the internet" may have been a better title, says the uptight control freak in me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carole B

    This book presents a scholarly defense of the validity and art of human interaction online, an extended academic rephrasing of the argument made time and again on Tumblr and other vibrant online communities: conversation, dialogue, and communication through the internet are genuine, innovative, and do not indicate the downfall of humanity. The aspects of Goldsmith's argument that made it more effective were his comparison to the surrealist movement, his classroom experiments in the application o This book presents a scholarly defense of the validity and art of human interaction online, an extended academic rephrasing of the argument made time and again on Tumblr and other vibrant online communities: conversation, dialogue, and communication through the internet are genuine, innovative, and do not indicate the downfall of humanity. The aspects of Goldsmith's argument that made it more effective were his comparison to the surrealist movement, his classroom experiments in the application of these ideas, and most significantly, his comparison with various modern art exhibits. Goldsmith venerates internet culture as art, inevitable from his background as a poet, a professor, and poet laureate for the Museum of Modern Art. This leads to a pervasive sense of wonder throughout, which is largely charming but occasionally nauseating. Goldsmith also adopts a rather narrow perspective, that of someone with the means for constant connection to the internet and the art education to look at it without much thought to access problems, or the limits of practicality. Goldsmith asserts that we should look at the internet as a massive arena for creativity, innovative in its technology but not its basic motivations for interaction. The reasoning that brings him to this conclusion, although from the lofty perspective of a self-proclaimed intellectual, are nonetheless interesting and worthwhile.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Avşar

    I did not enjoy reading this book. Often, the author starts a very compelling discussion and ends it with a positive checkmark on the internet's column. His observations are accurate but his conclusions are weak and problematic. He finds -let's call them- analogue people nostalgist but I think he is not taking an objective, or critical, or even a sceptical stance, which makes him in my view a favouritist. I would recommend -to the readers and the author too- e-flux journal's E-Flux Journal - The I I did not enjoy reading this book. Often, the author starts a very compelling discussion and ends it with a positive checkmark on the internet's column. His observations are accurate but his conclusions are weak and problematic. He finds -let's call them- analogue people nostalgist but I think he is not taking an objective, or critical, or even a sceptical stance, which makes him in my view a favouritist. I would recommend -to the readers and the author too- e-flux journal's E-Flux Journal - The Internet Does Not Exist and Bruce Sterling's The Epic Struggle of the Internet of Things as alternatives.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The first half of this book was so interesting. The best way I can describe it is...turning that old person telling a millennial to get off their phone into a study of why being glued to your phone is the future of human connection, how and why. Insightful to a degree for sure. However, when this author strays from his own class experiment and reports on chapters of other people's work, I'll admit I started skimming. They were thinly tied back to the theme of exploring concepts the internet has The first half of this book was so interesting. The best way I can describe it is...turning that old person telling a millennial to get off their phone into a study of why being glued to your phone is the future of human connection, how and why. Insightful to a degree for sure. However, when this author strays from his own class experiment and reports on chapters of other people's work, I'll admit I started skimming. They were thinly tied back to the theme of exploring concepts the internet has created, but it took on a clinical research paper feel when the personal perspective took a backseat. Addendum: The list of 100 ways to waste time on the internet in the back of the book is a stunning addition for procrastinators everywhere.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "Abundance is a lovely problem to have, but it produces a condition whereby the management of my cultural artifacts -their acquisition, filing, redundancy, archiving and redistribution- is overwhelming their actual content. I tend to shift my artifacts around more than I tend to use them." "In his never-ending search to join these two dispartate status, Breton started attending séances, which became required attendance for all aspiring surrealists. During the séances, Breton noticed several of hi "Abundance is a lovely problem to have, but it produces a condition whereby the management of my cultural artifacts -their acquisition, filing, redundancy, archiving and redistribution- is overwhelming their actual content. I tend to shift my artifacts around more than I tend to use them." "In his never-ending search to join these two dispartate status, Breton started attending séances, which became required attendance for all aspiring surrealists. During the séances, Breton noticed several of his acolytes nodding off. One in particular, the poet Revé Crevel, revealed himself as a sleep talker, babbling nonsense in the twilight of consciousness. In Crevel's dozing, Breton discovered a sort of portable séance, on that could be whisked out of the tomb like silence of the parlor and dropeed into noisy public spaces, inserting the dreamer into the midst of the crowds. From then on, he convinced Crevel to start falling asleep in cafés where, once he was presumed to be fast asleep (there was alwats some doubt that this was just theater) he was pepered with questions by a circle of awake poets, who transcribed these conversations as the basis for future poems. Breton was delighted with the results: Crevel's answers were perfectly surreal; his responses never quite matched up with the qeustions, which he took as direct manifestations culled from the subconscious, a balancing act between wakefulness and sleep. Rivalries grew among the surrealist poets as to who could be the best public sleeper. Commenting on this, Breton wrote "Every day they want to spend more time sleeping . Their words, recorded, intoxicate them. Everywhere, anywhere, they fall asleep. In the cafés, and amid the beer-glases, the saucers." One aspiring poet posted a note on his door each night before going to bed that read "THE POET IS WORKING". Proposing sleepwalking as an optimal widespread societal condition, Breton once asked, "When will we have sleeping logicians, sleeping philoshopers?". It seems the surrealist vision of a dream culture has been fully rrealized in today's technologies. We are awash in a new electronic collective unconscious; strapped to several devices, we're half-awake, half-asleep. We speak on the phone while surfing the web, partially hearing what's being said to us while simultaneously answering e-emails and checking status updates. I cant' help but notice we've become very good at being distracted. Breton would be delighted." "Marcel Duchamp's concept of the "Infrathin". A state between states. When asked to define the infrathin, Duchamp claimed it couldn't be defined, only described: "the warmth of a seat which has just been left" or "velvet trousers/their whistling sound in waling by brushing of the 2 legs is an infrathin separation signaled by sound". The infrathin is the lingering warmth of a piece of paper just after in emerges from the laser printer or the chiming startup sound the computer makes, signifying its transition from death to life. When composer Brian Eno was commisioned to compose the Windows 95 statup sound, he had to fulfill the requirements that it be "optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional"." "Look at those images objectively. Scarcely on of the real things in there would have made any sense to anyone in 1982, or even in 1992. People of those times would not have known what they were seeing with those New Asthethic images" -Bruce Sterling on memes and Internet asthethic. On Pinterest: "As opposed to Flickr or Instagra, every photo on Pinterest is a ready-made or a collage of preexisting images. Tho achieve this, the site uses a data compression algorithm called deduplitcation, which is a wayt of reducing the size of images buy outsourcing redudntan chunks of data to a single file that cab be inserted into an image on demand. So, let's say that I've pinned an image of a dog with brown eyes. Housed in the Pinterest database is an untold number of photos of dogs with brown eyes. The algorithm scans all of those eyes and determines that in many cases portions of the pixel configurations are identical. So when I load my dog, the algorithm shoots a reference with that exact pixel set and inserts it where my dog's eye is- My dog, then, is not a photograph of a dog in the traditional sense but instead is patched together from a database of preexisting elements on the fly. Each image is at once both unique and cloned, reverberating with modernism's constructivist methods of collaghe and assemblage, as well as postmodernism's mimetic strategies of appropiation and sampling." "Adults and children sometimes have boards in their bedrooms or living-rooms on which they pin pieces o paper, letters, snapshots, reproductions of paintings, newspaper cuttings, original drawings, postcards. On each board all the images belong to the same language and are all more or less equal within it, because they have been chosen in a highly personal way to match and express the experience of the rooms' inhabitant. Logically, these boards should replace museums." John Berber in 1972 book Ways of seeing. "Do not forget that a poem, although it is composed in the language of informaton, it is not userd in the language-game of giving information. - Ludwig Wittgenstein. "Michael Wood calls distraction another kind of concentration "The distracted person is not just absent or daydreaming, he/she is attracted, however fitfully, by a rival interest". "In a unanticipated twist to John Perry Barlows's 1994 prediction that in the digital age we'd be able to enjoy wine without the bottles, we've now come to prefer the bottles to the wine." "Paul Virilio has a concept he calls the integral accident which says that every time a technology is invented, an accidents is invented with it. so, when the ship is invented, you get a shipwreck; the train, a train weeck, the airplane, the plane crash."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I recommend that just about everyone read this book: If you are concerned about others around you, or those in society who "waste" too much time on the Internet, or if you, like myself, are an Internet time waster. It's a quick, easy, and very informative read. And if you're an amateur, skip to the back for some excellent suggestions on how to waste time on the Internet! I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.

  20. 4 out of 5

    A

    An exercise in shallow arguments and false equivalencies. Dude thinks he's clever. Dude ain't clever.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karl Reef

    Goldsmith’s interpretation of the internet and the time we spend on it is refreshingly positive and full of possibility. As the book progresses, Goldsmith takes the reader on a survey of modern ideas about the internet, linking them in often ingenious ways to literary and poetic theory at each step. Instead of summarizing further, the following is a list of ideas that I found worthy of listing/remembering. -The surrealists’ fascination and idolization of sleep, e.g. Andre Breton’s proposition: “W Goldsmith’s interpretation of the internet and the time we spend on it is refreshingly positive and full of possibility. As the book progresses, Goldsmith takes the reader on a survey of modern ideas about the internet, linking them in often ingenious ways to literary and poetic theory at each step. Instead of summarizing further, the following is a list of ideas that I found worthy of listing/remembering. -The surrealists’ fascination and idolization of sleep, e.g. Andre Breton’s proposition: “When will we have sleeping logicians, sleeping philosophers?”, and his desire for the “future resolution of these two states, dream and reality.” Goldsmith contends that these surrealists would be pleased with the level of technological distraction that we have become capable of in our current culture: “We are awash in a new electronic collective unconscious”. -Definition of affect and how it is expressed through online networks: “Affect is an inventory of shimmers, nuances, and states. Contagious, leaping from one body to another, affect infects those nearby with microemotions and microfeelings, pulsating extensions of our bodies’ nervous systems. Our online lives are saturated with affect, our sensations amplified and projected by the network.” -The situationists’ technique for urban sleepwalking they called derive (translation: drifting). The idea: Completely give up to the tugs and flows of the urban street, letting the crowds take you where they will, revealing regions of the city that, in your more “conscious” or “waking” moments, you would most likely not have been exposed to. “Walking the city invokes a text, one that is instantaneously written and read at once.” -The character Pig-pen from Peanuts as an embodiment of the quantified self / data exhaust that we emit through cloud-based computing -The roots of the lofi aesthetic in democratic street culture and counterculture, e.g. the “crispiness” of low Kbps Mp3s. Lofi images as “lumpen proletariat”: “The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletariat in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited.” -Plato’s apprehension about the transition from spoken language to the written word. Plato thought of written language as a pharmakon: A cheap substitute for spoken language. There are a lot of prescient ideas packed into this text. While part of me would have liked to see Goldsmith put on a different hat and take on the "internet as capitalist machine" to a greater extent, the book stays light and exotic by keeping its focus in the realm of poetic theory and artistic possibility rather than wading into economic critique. I am sold on the idea of poetic concepts as a potent and underutilized means for provoking re-evaluation of today’s digital landscape.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I found this book quite validating in that it pointed out all the reasons why wasting time on the internet isn't actually a waste of time. Though a fascinating read, I agree with other reviews that it could've done with more consistency and a reason for being. That said, perhaps what Goldsmith is trying to tell us is that something doesn't have to seem altogether (and formally so) to be good or useful. A lot of what he talks about relates to the surrealists and literary mumbo jumbo such as is us I found this book quite validating in that it pointed out all the reasons why wasting time on the internet isn't actually a waste of time. Though a fascinating read, I agree with other reviews that it could've done with more consistency and a reason for being. That said, perhaps what Goldsmith is trying to tell us is that something doesn't have to seem altogether (and formally so) to be good or useful. A lot of what he talks about relates to the surrealists and literary mumbo jumbo such as is used by Joyce and Burroughs. I particularly liked his ideas relating to consciousness. Goldsmith compares people glued to their phones in public to the surrealist sleepwalkers and their derive technique. The internet turns everyone into an artist (and an archivist, and a publisher, and a poet). Using your phone in -meatspace- allows you to access dreamspace while still awake. Is time wasted on the internet really time wasted? Maybe, but as an overarching idea it's very interesting and maybe important, and not all that different to what we were doing before. I would say this book acts as a debunker to scare-mongering articles that claim the internet will be the end of mankind. It won't, it reflects society as it has always been. Some underlined: "By inserting the network and machine into the midst of physically based social interaction, new forms of communal activity were possible... Because you must follow the edicts of the machine (Twister, spinner) your body ends up in places it normally wouldn't. Even when those positions are awkward no offence is taken because it's the machine that dictates where the body goes". p.37 "In a way the web is telepathic" p.39

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Someone wrote a book combining information science with art theory...and it wasn't me?? I bought this book because I was sick and tired of people saying that being on your phone is a "waste of time" when I feel like being on my phone and internet is not only a great joy in life but also an incredible tool in my education and well being (yes I am very privileged). This book was more than an essay about how cool the internet was, but actually discussed the intricacies of the internet through the le Someone wrote a book combining information science with art theory...and it wasn't me?? I bought this book because I was sick and tired of people saying that being on your phone is a "waste of time" when I feel like being on my phone and internet is not only a great joy in life but also an incredible tool in my education and well being (yes I am very privileged). This book was more than an essay about how cool the internet was, but actually discussed the intricacies of the internet through the lens of postmodern art (with special emphasis on conceptual art because the author is a bit biased-he's a conceptual artist) but also archival science, poetry, literary theory, and sociology. Incredibly insightful, the author is very knowledgeable about many things. He used words to describe the internet that I have only used in grad school. (I got really excited when he used taxonomies correctly in sentence.) I happen to have a background in both information science and art history so I was able to follow the majority of the book but I thought it was extremely observant, articulate and precise view of the internet. What I thought was a fleeting entertainment was actually exceedingly clever. My only complaint is hardly a complaint at all. I fear I will forget most of what he said by tomorrow. I'll need to read this book again, maybe annotate this time. I also read it largely in two big chunks with a few reads a page or two stretched over a few weeks. When I got sucked in, I enjoyed every minute. I did however, forget about it for a while and have difficultly picking it up in fleeting moments. I hope upon reread it will become a 5 star.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Debhall

    This book is about a college course that Kenneth Goldsmith taught. He waxes on how productive and creative our time on the internet is and–what is most interesting to me–puts the experience in a theoretical and philosophical context–citing artists such as Duchamp, numerous writers, the Futurists, etc. While I do believe that reading and writing have increased with the internet and social media, and agree with some of his conclusions, in his zeal, I think he has a few blind spots. He speaks lovin This book is about a college course that Kenneth Goldsmith taught. He waxes on how productive and creative our time on the internet is and–what is most interesting to me–puts the experience in a theoretical and philosophical context–citing artists such as Duchamp, numerous writers, the Futurists, etc. While I do believe that reading and writing have increased with the internet and social media, and agree with some of his conclusions, in his zeal, I think he has a few blind spots. He speaks lovingly of people hunched over their screens, but fails to mention the loss of observance and being aware of actual surroundings and personal space. I also have concerns about the loss of interest in the experience of nature due to the attraction of screens. In nature, one has to slow down, observe and be patient. In nature, one must use all the senses. Could it be that we are just creating a culture of instant gratification, and a loss of real experience? I have students that won't come to my office hours, preferring a text message. That is the student's loss. Face to face interactions are so important.

  25. 5 out of 5

    C. Hollis Crossman

    Author Kenneth Goldsmith, the first-ever poet laureate of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, was asked to curate an exhibit at Mexico City's LABOR gallery in honor of the hacktivist Aaron Swartz, who achieved notoriety by freeing 4.8 million articles on the paywalled academic publication aggregator site JSTOR. Swartz hanged himself following legal action taken against him, and the curators of the LABOR gallery wanted Goldsmith to pay the young man visual homage. So he conceived of a plan to get pe Author Kenneth Goldsmith, the first-ever poet laureate of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, was asked to curate an exhibit at Mexico City's LABOR gallery in honor of the hacktivist Aaron Swartz, who achieved notoriety by freeing 4.8 million articles on the paywalled academic publication aggregator site JSTOR. Swartz hanged himself following legal action taken against him, and the curators of the LABOR gallery wanted Goldsmith to pay the young man visual homage. So he conceived of a plan to get people to print the Internet and send their pages to Mexico City where he could display them en masse as a testament to its enormity. This fascination with quantity over quality runs throughout Goldsmith's book, which is as much a wrestling with the implications of our modern technology for art and public discourse as it is a celebration of wasting time on the Internet. In fact, the celebratory moments are always tempered with a bittersweet understanding that our immersion in online media is both a good thing (it inspires us and rekindles our sense of the wonderful and the weird) and possibly dangerous (we are lulled into a waking dream-state akin to what zombies experience). Yet for Goldsmith, even the potentially hazardous aspects of Internet surrender have a silver lining—he frequently invokes the surrealists, who intentionally mined their own subconsciousness via dreaming for inspiration, as hero figures. The result is an often ambivalent attempt to make readers feel less ashamed and more excited about living in the digital space. His strongest suggestions come when he reminds us that no one lives exclusively on- or off-line: rather, we experience a blending of the cyber and the physical worlds, and are learning how to feel equally at home in both. His weakest moments are those in which he praises the sacrifice of creativity and originality for magnitude and repurposing—coming from a postmodern artist, such sentiments are unsurprising, but fairly tiresome. Of course all art builds on what has come before, but the blatant theft of charlatans like Richard Prince, who have neither talent nor plausible manifesto, should be called out for the bullshit that it is. An obvious hole in Goldsmith's discussion is Internet porn. He barely touches the topic, and when he does it's peripheral. Is this because porn for him has no moral implications? Or does he not view the viewing of porn as "wasting time"? It's a curious omission, but probably makes the book overall more interesting and less potentially inflammatory. The volume concludes with a list of 100 ways to waste time on the Internet, compiled from discussions which unfolded during the course Goldsmith taught at University of Pennsylvania which bore the same title as this book. This list is surprisingly much less funny than I expected it to be. Most of the suggestions are either passive-aggressive (using someone else's social media profile to create havoc) or boring (taking endless screenshots of inane images culled from YouTube videos). Maybe this is intentional, a way for Goldsmith to reiterate his claim that lack of creativity is the new creativity. Or maybe it's a tacit admission that wasting time on the Internet really is an irredeemable hole into which so many of us compulsively throw our precious hours.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brooks

    I have finished Wasting Time on the Internet! Goldsmith is an interesting artist who spends a lot of time thinking about art and culture and modern life in an compelling and reasoned way. I enjoy reading his thoughts. Central to so much of Goldsmith's perspective is the idea that everything we do is art if we decide it is. Taking the internet/social media/mobile devices as the jumping off point, that idea is now expanded to those idle moments when most of us don't think we're accomplishing anythi I have finished Wasting Time on the Internet! Goldsmith is an interesting artist who spends a lot of time thinking about art and culture and modern life in an compelling and reasoned way. I enjoy reading his thoughts. Central to so much of Goldsmith's perspective is the idea that everything we do is art if we decide it is. Taking the internet/social media/mobile devices as the jumping off point, that idea is now expanded to those idle moments when most of us don't think we're accomplishing anything. Starting with an argument that we are more engaged than we care to realize and finishing with how that becomes art, the book carries the idea through nicely. Worth a read if one finds those ideas interesting.

  27. 4 out of 5

    JP

    “I can see the moon anytime, but this is the only time I can be having this conversation,” says a man texting in front of the moonrise. In “Wasting Time On The Internet,” Kenneth Goldsmith mentions this overheard rebuke, threading it into his reflections on how the internet is genuine, material, and human. It’s a quick, easy read, with Goldsmith following links between Tweets and poetry, dream-states and web browsing, Surrealist art and moodboards. It can be a little scattered, but it’s an engro “I can see the moon anytime, but this is the only time I can be having this conversation,” says a man texting in front of the moonrise. In “Wasting Time On The Internet,” Kenneth Goldsmith mentions this overheard rebuke, threading it into his reflections on how the internet is genuine, material, and human. It’s a quick, easy read, with Goldsmith following links between Tweets and poetry, dream-states and web browsing, Surrealist art and moodboards. It can be a little scattered, but it’s an engrossing take on our ceaseless digital lives.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I like the premise of the book, and think that he makes an excellent point that social media is not a withdrawal of people from interaction but rather a reformation of culture into something new. It should be seen as transformative or evolutionary rather than revolutionary. My criticism of the book would be the length taken to make the point. The author made a good case for his argument early in the book and by 1/3rd of the way into the book I could understand his point. The next 1/3rd felt like I like the premise of the book, and think that he makes an excellent point that social media is not a withdrawal of people from interaction but rather a reformation of culture into something new. It should be seen as transformative or evolutionary rather than revolutionary. My criticism of the book would be the length taken to make the point. The author made a good case for his argument early in the book and by 1/3rd of the way into the book I could understand his point. The next 1/3rd felt like a rehashing of the same points with new examples.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nick Jones

    Reading this book felt more like Wasting Time with a Pretentious Twit. Kenneth Goldsmith spends his time spinning painfully contrived analogies that always fail to ring true, endlessly blathering about pseudophilosophical pap, gushing over countless idiotic crafting projects that only the worst kind of pompous art snob would care about, and after the introduction fails to even attempt to back up what is supposedly his central thesis: that time wasted on the internet is actually time well spent. Reading this book felt more like Wasting Time with a Pretentious Twit. Kenneth Goldsmith spends his time spinning painfully contrived analogies that always fail to ring true, endlessly blathering about pseudophilosophical pap, gushing over countless idiotic crafting projects that only the worst kind of pompous art snob would care about, and after the introduction fails to even attempt to back up what is supposedly his central thesis: that time wasted on the internet is actually time well spent. It's not, but it's probably at least a bit more valuable than reading this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    More like 4.5 stars. I don't love everything in this book -- I think his "Wasting Time on the Internet" class sounds intellectually and ethically dubious. But this book is an excellent antidote to digital skeptics like Carr or Turkle. I think I want to assign part of the first chapter of this book in my writing class next semester.

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