While I’ve already (foolishly) admitted to being rather badly addicted to lurking on the internet when I should be doing more productive things, I also want to defend myself.
I do think that there is some benefit to be gained by constantly browsing websites. It might not be enough of a benefit to counteract the fact that you aren’t doing any work, but it’s there. For example: say you just happen to stumble upon some random factoid about meteorites while lurking online. Two months later, you find yourself in a room with somebody talking about meteorites, and BAM! Now you can bring out your obscure fact and seem like a smarty pants.
In all seriousness though, I often wonder how much of my internet browsing is useful in some way, and how much of it is just plain entertaining myself while I’m bored. The website that probably destroys more of my time than any other is TV Tropes. I have probably spent a combined total of at least a week lurking on that monstrous time-vampire of a website. I go there almost entirely to entertain myself.
But at the same time, I do think that I am getting some benefit from spending time on TV Tropes. At least in terms of writing, I can’t help but feel that it is better to know what most of the writing tropes are. I like to justify my time troping by telling myself and my friends that it is teaching me how to be a better story teller.
I think a lot of people must have at least one website that they frequent that has at least some real benefit to offer them in terms of knowledge, something to make the the tradeoff of wasting hours and hours of your life worth it.
What site is it for you?