Who, me? Addicted to the what now?

by DaniGirl on April 20, 2009 · 14 comments

in How I love the Interwebs

One of my friends at work (*waves to Sue*) recently sent me a link to an article entitled “Why moms are at risk for Internet addiction.”

I have no idea why she sent it to me. (*looks obliquely to the left*) No really, I don’t have a problem. I mean, it did give me an uncomfortable little squiggle there for a minute with the bit about “14 percent of Internet users find it hard to stay away from it for several days at a time” (days? really? try ‘hours’!) and maybe that part about “9 percent try to hide their “nonessential Internet use” from their loved ones” has happened once or twice. (*begins to sweat*) And hey, that part about “that going online has become an imposing part of your life, which, at the least, means a load or two of laundry goes unwashed” — well, sure, but I always get to it eventually.

Oh hell, there’s no use fighting it. (*deep breath*)

My name is DaniGirl, and I am addicted to the Internet.

Funny, though, I don’t get online to escape my problems per se. It’s not an emotional escape for me, it’s often a physical one. When I’m at home sometimes I go online just because it means I can sit still and zone out for a couple of minutes. There’s something cathartic bordering on zen in the familiar circuit of checking the blog for new comments, checking the e-mail account for new messages, taking a quick peek on Flickr to see if anything is new there (that’s a new stop on my route, but sometimes lately the first place I’ll go depending on how much I love my photo of the day) and if there’s time I’ll stop by Twitter to see what’s going on there. Five minutes, tops, and I’ve had the chance to sit, breath and regroup. The hard part, of course, is not getting sucked in. “Oh look, @wombat627 thinks this video on YouTube is classic retro 80s. I’ll just take a peek.” And it spirals downhill from there, one click at a time.

The path to hell is not paved with good intentions but with clickable links and idle curiousity.

In all seriousness, there are days when I think my Internet love affair gets a little bit out of control. I could never quantify the amount of effort I’ve put into creating my little online universe, just as I could never quanify the richness it has brought to my life. But holy hell, it’s almost as much work keeping my online life in order as it is keeping my real life from falling apart!

Beyond simply writing the posts and creating the pictures, it’s amazing how much effort it is to nurture and cultivate the relationships that give this little corner of the Internet the sense of community that I so treasure. Once upon a time, I visited the blog of every single person who commented and tried to leave a comment in return, and I responded to almost all of my e-mails. If I did that today, I’d be online 37 hours a day! Like everything else in my life, I try to cycle through my online to-do list once every week or two, focusing on certain tasks and leaving others undone.

I’m terrible now at responding to e-mails, even though I read every single one. I don’t comment nearly as much as I used to, even though I’m still reading the same number of blogs. I can’t remember the last time I opened Facebook, and I have about 100 more people following me on Twitter than I follow, largely because I haven’t had the chance to peek at their profiles and see who they are — and even then I’m not sure why I’m following half the people I am. I’d love to be spending even more time online catching up with all this stuff, but I have this whole real life on the outside of the computer that seems to demand the lion’s share of my attention!

All in all, I suppose my online habit is rather benign, considering it’s better for my health than smack and better for my wallet than being addicted to shopping. What do you think? Are you a junkie like me, or do you have your Internet compulsions more firmly under control?


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 snackmommy2 April 20, 2009 at 8:28 am

Busted.

2 alison April 20, 2009 at 8:31 am

Yep, me too. My computer is in the basement, and my girls know that when I yell upstairs that I’ll be up in just a minute, it’s likely to be longer than that. I’ve switched to using the computer after they go to bed, otherwise I might not see them (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but I’m always wanting to check Facebook, or see if anyone’s left a new comment on my blog). It’s probably a good thing I don’t Twitter or Flikr. And don’t worry about not commenting often, we do understand that 3 small boys and a fulltime job tend to circumscribe one’s free time.

3 Mac and Cheese April 20, 2009 at 10:27 am

Let me put it this way; after reading your first paragraph, I felt guilty and put in a load of laundry.

4 liz April 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

Waving hi from the Amen corner!

5 geekch1ck April 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

My hubby sent me the same article and I admit it. However, like the woman in the article, I’m home all day by myself with a small child. My online life is where I get to be a grown up and talk about stuff other than Noggin.

Ok, I just realized that sounds like a junkie trying to explain his/her addiction, but there you have it.

6 Annika April 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Guilty. I have recently limited myself to checking Facebook only ONCE a week (rather than 10 times a day), and I’m not even allowing myself to try Twitter. I cannot give up reading my fave blogs on a daily basis, however. As a stay at home mom of two very young children, reading/commenting/being curious online is an actual outlet for me. My mom watched soaps and Donahue, and I rarely have the tv on before 8 p.m. …so I figure this is my generation’s little escape.

Now running up to the laundry room…

7 mrsgryphon April 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm

*hand shoots in the air – me too, me too* Although, I’ve recently decided that I really need to take some steps to reduce the amount of time I spend online and work harder at cultivating the friendships I have offline. I’ve “unplugged” from my check-in-every-30-minutes Facebook habit and I’m trimming down my feed reader so that I’m only reading blogs I really enjoy… it has made a big difference! I suddenly realized that, since I joined Facebook, I knew little tidbits about what everyone was up to but sometimes it had been weeks since I’d actually TALKED to that friend! Now, I try to pick up the phone and call at least one friend a day – and that is making me happier than giving them a little ‘thumbs up’ under their status!

Not to mention the fact that, with another baby on the way (1 month today!), my online time is going to be even more limited, so I might as well get used to it now, right?!

8 Amber April 20, 2009 at 1:22 pm

This is the honest truth. I started reading your post, and then I remembered that I wanted to do something on Twitter. So I did that. And then I wasted 20 minutes on there. And then I checked my email. And finally I remembered I was reading this post and started again.

So, clearly, I have no idea what this ‘internet addiction’ means. I can’t relate AT ALL. Please excuse me now because I have some very important blogging to do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

9 Reluctant Housewife April 20, 2009 at 6:31 pm

I am right there with you on every single point.

And this: “The path to hell is not paved with good intentions but with clickable links and idle curiousity.” is a little piece of brilliance, right there. the truth, you speak it.

Great post.

And I feel I must point out the the word verification I have to type in is: ‘Pediatric necks’. What?

10 ian April 21, 2009 at 8:50 am

Nope. My moods for being social with all these social platforms come and go… it’s kind of like being an artist, where you have to have inspiration to same something that actually means something, or else what’s the point…?

11 Shannon April 21, 2009 at 11:54 am

Like Ian, my moods come and go. I definitely am online a lot, but I *think* I have it pretty controlled most of the time. I go in phases and definitely am online more when I’m really stressed or need a “break” away from real life. I don’t Facebook anymore, I really couldn’t keep up and it was getting crazy. That being said, I feel left out of stuff and find I miss gossip and big news like births and deaths – isn’t that weird in today’s society? I use Twitter a lot b/c I can come and go as I please and there is no commitment. I can not go on for days and it doesn’t matter. If I have 30 minutes while the kids nap, I can tweet all I want.

I think the one thing I sometimes regret is that I often spend my evenings online, after the kids are asleep. I rarely watch TV anymore, or read books, or play games, or chat on the phone, I update my blog and read other blogs and check e-mail and stuff like that. I often wonder what amazing things I could accomplish at night if my laptop died ๐Ÿ™‚

12 Bex April 21, 2009 at 7:49 pm

i’ve had my moments… i go through phases for shizzle. The internet and I have a love/hate relationship. But without it, I wouldn’t be able to skype with my bf after a long day at work, nor would I have been able to get the news again through skype, of one of my dear friends who lives in Colorado of her recent engagement. The internet rocks… My blog is like my best friend… even if I’m not in touch with it every day, it still knows I’m there and will still love me when I get back to it!

btw- I’m shamelessly using this opportunity to *wave to Sue* from here… see, another funny way of using the internet! (assuming I’m waving to the same Sue who I think I am…)

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