The Daily Gamecock

Websites for wasting time — productively


There are very few pure college students left, with regard to social media, and those who have managed to resist and abstain for this long probably have a level of mindfulness that’s long been unattainable for the rest of us. But participating in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram doesn’t have to mean being drawn into a vortex of FOMO and despair every time you sit down to write a Daily Gamecock article (or a paper for a class). There are countless websites dedicated to helping you procrastinate while — maybe, sort of — bettering yourself. Here are a few of my favorites.


Similar to Yahoo Answers if it had been created by reasonably talented designers instead of whoever created Yahoo Answers, Quora transcends the medium of an online forum by allowing users to select topics they’re interested in and then to ask questions and receive answers from experts on those topics. For example, when somebody asked the general public, “How do film scores reflect the storyline of the movie?” film composer Hans Zimmer appeared and gave a thoughtful, compelling explanation. After questions are answered, they can be upvoted or downvoted, and those with the most upvotes rise to the top of the pool, getting more exposure. Quora’s mental health topics are especially helpful, offering realistic advice for dealing with things like depression and anxiety.


A borderline clever combination of the words “list” and “universe,” Listverse offers entertaining lists on ultra-specific topics. While the lists’ veracity is often questionable, it’s easy to use one’s using-Wikipedia-to-find-sources skills and double check the lists’ claims before you impress your friends with them. A large chunk of the lists focus on historical anomalies and unique places around the world, which are a great source of escapism while you put off homework.

Amazon Mechanical Turk

Invented by Amazon to do the tasks computers seem like they should be able to do but can’t yet, Amazon Mechanical Turk connects researchers and business owners with regular people who have time to waste and wallets to fill — you — so that you can do small “human intelligence tasks,” or HITs, online for a small profit. The tasks change every day, but common ones include things like copying receipts from images, writing short paragraphs about various topics and transcribing audio recordings. You never know who you’re helping on Amazon Mechanical Turk, or why, but you do know that you’re earning about 50 cents an hour more than you would be otherwise.

The Gamecock Archives

There’s nothing eerier or more fascinating than reading about the lives of the students going to your school in the past: World War I Gamecocks, The Great Depression-era Gamecocks, rock and roll Gamecocks — it’s all documented online. Because newspapers are intended to be read almost immediately after they’re written, rather than a letter written to the future and left in a time capsule, these archives are even cooler than time capsules; they capture the mundane parts of lives throughout the 20th century that nobody could have known would be so interesting to us in 2016.


Airbnb’s website isn’t full of readable content the way these other websites are, but it provides a great escape from schoolwork by allowing you to plan your happier future. Dedicated to connecting travelers with homeowners in the travelers’ destinations, Airbnb is full of pictures, prices and descriptions of affordable places to stay in a large number of cities. There’s nothing more exciting than exploring them and realizing how attainable they are. Next time you sit down to do homework you don’t want to do, plan and book a spring break trip to a luxury treehouse in Albuquerque! 


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