Yesterday at 3:50 PM my Pandora suddenly stopped playing. Googletalk signed me out. Yahoo Messenger quit. I could no longer tweet. The internet across campus was down. EEP! I was so distracted by the lack of distractions that I got approximately nothing done for the last hour of work. Nevermind the fact that a lot of my job depends upon use of the internet. I figured a server blew up or something, somewhere on campus, and all would be well today.
Got in this morning and not only was the internet still down, the air conditioner was broken too. Y’all, I live in Mississippi. Summer started a month ago here.
Apparently this outage is not just the university. It’s a regional thing for AT& T caused (or so the scuttlebutt goes) because some farmer in Greenville (about 3 hours away) accidentally sliced through a cable with his tractor. They’d located the problem and gave no estimation on when it will be fixed.
I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t get my blog posts up or check email or talk to anyone or play music. I couldn’t find out what the latest tweets were or finish the conversations I had started over breakfast. I couldn’t search for the images I needed for the PowerPoint presentation I was working on. I couldn’t look for new templates for the website I’m working on. And I could hardly breathe it was so damned stuffy and hot.
Nooooooooooo! I fully expected to go into shakes at any moment.
The AC goes out with regularity during the summer. It’s one of the annoying quirks of our building and always brings work to a grinding halt. They haven’t busted out all the box fans yet. I told my boss I was packing everything up and going home to work.
So I’m home with AC, a fan, and internet. Happy now.
It really was kind of alarming actually. My husband was just saying yesterday that he can no longer just read (the 4th MEG book by Steve Altan just came out). He has to have TV and something else on too. Now I’m not THAT bad (reading is something fun, ergo it holds my attention), but apparently I can’t really work (and by work I mean Evil Day Job work that bores me 99% of the time, not writing) without having some other stimulation. Music. Conversation. Whatever. Something to break the monotony.
Hi, my name is Kait, and I am addicted to the internet.
Hi Kait! (If you can, hear that as a chorus of voices giving the traditional 12 Step response to the admission “Hi, my name is ______ and I’m _______).
Addiction to the internet is very real possibility. The most disturbing thing about any addiction is that it alters how your brain works, which in turn alters your behavior and personality.
And the internet DOES alter how the brain works. A study done in 2008 found that brain activity patterns of people who use the internet a lot are very different from the brain patterns of people who don’t use the internet. To cut to the chase, people who use the internet have less activity in the language, memory and visual centers of the brain than people who don’t. (So that’s what’s happening to my memory!) What’s really interesting and a little scary is that after people who hadn’t previously hadn’t used the internet used the internet for only 5 days, their brain scans changed!
Take a look at the whole interview with Nicholas Carr (yup, the same guy who wrote the Atlantic cover story “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”) in the March 2009 issue of The Sun, which you can find at http://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/399/computing_the_cost
Although, if Carr is right, you may do your brain a big favor if you actually read the article from the real magazine instead of reading it online…
Gotta run now – I have a date with a book (you remember, a bunch of word-filled pages all glued together into one thing you can carry around with you in search of a nice breeze next time the power goes out.)
Opps, change the last sentence in the 3rd paragraph to: What’s really interesting and a little scary is that after people who hadn’t previously used the internet started using it for only 5 days, their brain scans changed!
I’m actually a clinical psychologist by training, so familiar with the addiction literature etc. 🙂 I write and read a great deal in my free time, and I have no problem whatsoever focusing on things I enjoy. It’s mostly an escape/distraction from the enormous boredom of regular work.