I don’t know if it has a name, but it should. Perhaps if you know it, you could let me know, or maybe you could invent one?
I’m referring the phenomenon that occurs when one picks up a reference book. say a dictionary or encyclopaedia. I read somewhere that before turning to the term that prompted the search, the average person will check seven unrelated entries (I can’t remember the exact number, but you get my drift).
I’ve learned a lot that way. In the olden days when we used books with pages for such things, there’s no doubt that my personal lexicon was made more diverse and my tendency towards prolixity was acuminated by such opportunistic forays.
But, now that we have instant access via the big ‘G’ and other search engines, the risks are multiplied to a point that outweighs the advantages. While in the paper-days we might have lost a few minutes to distracted ferreting, we would benefit by learning something useful and exercising our minds with study.
In the e-Age we inhabit now, though, we can lose hours or more, distracted by the trivia that populates most social media platforms, not to mention the siren like calls of the big ‘G’ that’s draw us helplessly to founder upon the rocks that surround the shores of cyber-land.
There’s good and bad to this too. In my case the risks outweigh the advantages by a long way, unless I consciously discipline myself to get on the job in hand, and avoid the distractions.