Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Internet Vs. Life

blog news:I read a couple of studies last year about how people experience higher rates of depression and social isolation for the first year or two of having internet access at home. After that, they report being happier and more social than they ever were before, because they found the right balance of online and offline time.
(from Sex Drive Daily blog, one I just discovered via another big slashdot-esque site)

Very interesting. I'd agree. I definitely spend more time going out now than I used to when I first had the internet at home, purely as a result of socialising online on forums, chatrooms etc. Switching to broadband two years ago boosted it too, but more because of the indirect effects (not feeling I needed to make the most of my time online due to flat-rate charging) than the speed improvements. Pages arriving quicker just means I'm happier to use it and I leave the computer on longer so less start-up time. It becomes more integrated into my home life. Dial-up seemed to make me spend more time online to be honest, unless that's just my impression.

There is a down-side to having the internet (mostly meaning "the web") so easily on-tap - you tend to forget about other sources of information or assume they'll be harder to access or slower. It isn't always the case. There are still many cases where other sources can be better - you can't beat hardcopy (whether printouts, books or otherwise) for quantity reading still or the ability to scan-read. Full-size screens are too unwieldy and anything less doesn't provide enough display real estate. Compare to a book for it's purpose.

PS: I'll try and tag posts like this with "discussion" unless anyone has a better/more commonly used tag to suggest.


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