You’re Reading This Because You’re Addicted to Information

Our research-induced, online black holes are changing who we are

Cassie Archdeacon
GEN
Published in
7 min readDec 2, 2019

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Illustration: Carolyn Figel

RRoughly 45 minutes into an online search for a vegetable peeler, I looked away from my screen to realize the kitchen had grown dark and the day turned to night. I thought to myself, this is a problem.

The peeler needed to be tough enough to slice smoothly through a lemon peel, but also easy-to-clean and pretty enough to pass as artful — it needed to be the vegetable peeler I would own for the rest of my life. I found all this in a peeler I will call The One, which came with rave reviews from Mariah H. in Wisconsin, a woman I blindly trusted due to her strategic use of exclamation marks. But shipping cost $4.95 — a glaring injustice — and did I really want to spend the equivalent of my Saturday morning coffee on a luxury vegetable peeler? Nope. Instead, I’d keep scouring for The One, sans shipping.

The amount of information I felt compelled to consume for something as trivial as a vegetable peeler — still a fraction of the effort I put forth in my pursuit of perfect bed pillows — was perhaps slightly obsessive, I admit. But I know I’m not the only one who’s vulnerable to these types of research-induced, online black holes. I couldn’t make decisions for myself. I was addicted to…

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Cassie Archdeacon
GEN
Writer for

Writer and MFA student living in Brooklyn with my boyfriend, our imaginary dog, and our family of houseplants. @cassiearch