Now, this is interesting…but also a bit of a well duh.
According to a study released by the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, sites that load slowly and are hard to navigate caused classic signs of stress including sweating and an increase in heart rate.
Now, theoretically this means you could get your aerobic workout by spending twenty minutes a day on Myspace (dear GOD I think I’ve never seen a fully-loaded Myspace page; I always kill them as soon as the Fall Out Boy starts up, which takes about fifteen to twenty minutes, or so it seems, during which none of the applications on my computer will work, but I’m SO OVER THAT) . But no.
What spending time on those sites will do is measurably increase your cortisone level, which is an indication of physical stress, and cortisone, while it does fight inflammation and help prevent cardiac infarctions and a whole mess of other bad things, ultimately isn’t good to have a lot of floating around in one’s system. It’s one of the reasons chronic stress is so bad for you. Think of cortisone as the Red Cross; great to have in an emergency, but you wouldn’t want them bunking in your livingroom 24/7, would you?
Naturally, we recommend avoiding sites that shorten your life while making the boring parts of it seem longer: Myspace is big for this, as are all sites which autoload music or feature so many (or so large) images that they take forever to download.
If, for interest’s sake or for work’s sake, you must be on such sites, I suggest you minimize the aggravation factor by taking the following steps:
- upgrade your internet connection if you can afford it. If you can’t, try to load those slow sites when you’re working on public computers, which generally have excellent internet connections.
- Have something to work on or read in front of you already, and open those sites in a new window. Click back to what you were working on before and let those things load quietly in the background until you’ve finished what you’re working on, then click over. This is far more productive than watching that little planet spinning.
- Learn to use RSS feeds. Because of the formatting, they don’t take as long to load as entire websites, and you can click through them much quicker, skimming as you go. And you know, some day I’ll do this.
- You don’t need to wait for the entire site to load most of the time. Ads generally load first, but it varies. If the text is visible, just go ahead and read it and don’t wait for the rest of the site to come up.
- A frequent cause of slow loading is that the site is trying to stuff your computer with spyware, etc. Naturally, if you have some protection fighting back against that it’s going to take even longer: in this case, resist the temptation to take the protection off. That would be very short-sighted. If you are finding this to be a real problem, check around and see if anyone can recommend something that will work with your configuration and not slow things down so much.
- Some sites offer a choice of views. Full view is, of course, just that: you get everything, from the scanned PDF copy of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road to Beethoven’s Fifth performed by the Kalamazoo Kazoos. Text Only view is the fastest to load and most efficient; if this is not available, play around with other options including Mobile View. Yes, it’s for cellphones, but basically it’s the same information in a much smaller, and quicker-loading, package.
And most importantly, remember to get OFF the internet once in awhile. Don’t worry, it’ll still be there when you get back.