Saturday, February 13, 2010

Addicted to Blogs

me on the internet Image by greengardenvienna

A post by Pam from made me start thinking about a blurb I heard for one of those news magazines--I never saw the actual report, but they mentioned social networking can get the same reaction from people as gambling.

I think there might be something to this, since using sites like Twitter and Facebook do seem to feed on themselves. And I have noticed that a lot of us make resolutions to spend less time on the internet, only to wind up spending the same amount, if not more. I myself am guilty of this--remember when I decided I would take one day off from the webbernets every week? Yeah, that totally lasted more than two weeks. /sarcasm

The reason Pam's post reminded me of this is NOT because I think she's addicted to social networking. But I do think the urge to pull back a bit from blogging is our brain telling us that we need a breather and a return to RL (and other addictions? :P Hey, we all have them to one extent or another). How is social networking like gambling? Well, you hang out on the interwebz and wait for something "exciting" to happen--i.e., a conversation on twitter, someone comments on your blog, etc. Hooray! You get a little thrill, and it's that sense of reward that you become addicted to, not social networking--soc. net. is just the way you acheive it.

Of course there are different levels and different ways people are addicted. According to this study, only about four percent of people become addicted to the internet, about the same amount that become addicted to gambling. So the chances that you are addicted, even if you do spend a lot of time online, are pretty small.

What do you do if you think you have a problem? The docs in the study suggest limiting the time you spend online to certain hours--for example, 9 AM-11 PM. Haha, kidding! About the last part, anyway. Ahem. Limiting your hours reduces the feeling of risk/reward that ensnares people.

Does this mean I'm going to be limiting my hours on the internet? I actually have been doing that lately, I think. But I'm probably never going to go back to the days when I spent one hour online in the morning and that was it. I need my internets now! I could wean myself off it I wanted to, but... why? It's fun.

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