Why assign any special value to an hour spent online in the first place? Given the proven models of revenue on the web, it’s reasonable to assume that a good chunk of those trillion-plus online hours are devoted to gambling and downloading porn. Yes, the networked web world does produce some appreciable social goods, such as the YouTubed “It Gets Better” appeals to bullied gay teens contemplating suicide. But there’s nothing innate in the character of digital communication that favors feats of compassion and creativity; for every “It Gets Better” video that goes viral, there’s an equally robust traffic in white nationalist, birther and jihadist content online. A “cognitive surplus” has meaning only if one can ensure a baseline value to all that dreary inconvenient time we “while away” in our individual lives, and establishing that baseline is inherently a political question, one that might be better phrased as either “Surplus for what?” or “Whose surplus, white man?”