I recently read some sensible post from one of the tech blogs I follow about internet addiction, that is on the one hand quite sad, but on the other totally true. If I read the qualifications that I generally read, I’m an internet addict, and along with me, my sister and at least 50% of my colleagues.
We are the people that check mail several times per hour, are updating ourself through news feeds to see if anything interesting has happened, and we generally know about the latest and greatest about our field of interest, be it open-source software, horses (for my sister), Apple hard- and software, video, webcomics, or the latest offer on iBood.com.
It is true that this addiction can be quite inconvenient at times, and it makes us spend money on mobile internet (but unlimited internet for €10 per month is something I can live with), phones that can display that internet more decently than the w810 I had, and worst of all, it makes me waste time on the internet instead of reading books (but generally I do get to spend enough face to face time with people because I plan my schedule to have enough face to face time.
On the other hand the blessings are great too. Our extended net awareness is what gives us the tools to function in our day jobs. We know what’s going on, and when we don’t, we are able to google whatever information we need in a heartbeat, we take part in specialized communities that explore and develop knowledge where there was none before. We know and we connect, and build friendships over the internet that run as deep as many face-to-face friendships (I’m still in contact with some former OGD colleagues on IRC, and keep friendships up to date, and even make friends with people that joined OGD after I left). Our online existence might hamper our real life social contacts every once in a while, but as a whole, it has landed us friendships we wouldn’t have had otherwise, quite well paid jobs, and direct connections with some of the smartest minds that walk around on the internet.
I’m proud to be a knight of the technosphere.