Tangled in the web.
Chat ... chat.. chat .. more ..chat.. :)
Its 1:00 in the night, and you meet the same bunch of anonymous name at IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Behind the pixelated glare of the screen, the distinction between inner and outer worlds almost disappears. You sit almost motionless, your hands typing away to cryptic names who are as immersed in this world as you are.
*** Now talking in #Channel
*** topic is Welcome to #Channel
<@DarkSun> Hi folks :)
<Guest4140> wb DarkSun
<Digital> wb :)
<DarkSun> hows thing?
<Guest35467> Who is NickServ, Why do he change my nick to Guest always?
<+Watch`er> lol.. hahaha
<@Ares> reminds me when i first came to IRC
* DarkSun agrees *grins*
*** Joins Sub-Zero (~Universe@mortalcombat.org)
*** Chanserv sets mode +o Sub-Zero
<@DarkSun> Hi Sub-Zero wb :)
*** Sub-Zero sets -o+b *!*Intel-Inside (~firstname.lastname@example.org).*
*** Intel-Inside was kicked by Sub-Zero (get lost you lamerz)
*Watch`er sits on Sub-Zero :P
<@Sub-Zero> arrrrrrrgggg dont sit on me ;PpP
NOTE: see how the topic changes in the conversation, whats it all about anyway?
The sweet lure of instant communication technology is stimulating, hard to resist, rewarding and trives on the fact that most people don't know when to stop. Studies conducted of late seem to confirm various anecdotal accounts of people being 'hooked' to the life online, at the cost of their personal or professional life.
Internet usage has multiplied many times over with the rise of instant messengers, mIRC etc.
It all began as a simple, quick way for teenagers to swap brief, synchonous messages over the Internet - make small talks, crib, complain and flirt. Some even escape from real life problem to a make believe world on the net. However, finding regular escape to cyber-space also has side effects - missed deadlines, lost jobs, low grades and loss of weight. It's only after you get unplugged that you realise the ramifications of this addiction, especially when they manifest themselves in the form of phone bills. But in four years Chatting has grown to become the biggest 'killer app' of the Internet after e-mail. And the market is growing everyday : AOL's IM and ICQ alone account for about 750 millions messages each day. and claim to have 130 million users, While DALnet (IRC network) reports 80,000 plus users, and Microsoft reports over 18 million users. Yahoo another leader in the field, declines to reveal its total instant messaging user base.
Just like a phone conversation, the chat technology allows you immediate, quick-hit communication and provide ability to converse with many people at the same time. It brings the best of both worlds, that is why it has gained such unprecedent popularity. Now, users are confused as to which client or service they should use. Yahoo, IRC and MSN were clear favorites, many people loved Yahoo's feature of leaving offline messages, MSN for its simplicity and IRC for being able to access power of being an Operator. But heavy Internet users pick no favorites among any, they just turn them all on.
A person by the nick of SPYDER^ in #Kohima (a channel on DALnet IRC network) spoke at length about being a chat addict. "It's the devil in disguise, really. Sure it's fast. It's cheap. It's easy. You can leave it on all day if you have cable Internet like I do. Everyday I wake up, I turn on my machine, I check my e-mail, and I log onto IRC and starts chatting. It's an addiction, really. I have to, almost need to be at my computers when in it's presence."
Amod Modak a good friend of mine once told me, "You know what really sucks ? You can't really make out everything about the person on the other end when you really want to, and you don't know if any of it is true. It freaks out paranoid people like me."
Net evangelist Howard Rheingold makes a good defence: "One might think the net a cold place, and yet it need not be. In the impersonal isolation of our large cities, where people often live seperated from kin or lonely amid the multitueds, the net can become surrogate social-life a vital source of interpersonal contact despite its non-physical nature."
Are you Addicted?
- Do you feel preoccupied with the internet or online services and think about it while offline?
- Do you feel a need to spend more and more time online to achive satisfaction?
- Are you unable to control your online usage?
- Do you feel restless when attempting to cut down or stop your online usage?
- Do you go online to escape problems or relieve feelings such as helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression?
- Do you lie to conceal how often and how long you stay online?
- Do you risk loosing a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of your online use?
- Do you keep returning even after spending too much money on online fees?
- Do you go through withdrawal when offline, such as increased depression, moodiness or irritability?
- Do you stay online longer than originally intended?
If you meet 4 or more of the 10 criteria. Yes, you are addicted.
Get a Grip
- Use a timer or alarm clock. Use software that keeps track of online time and net usage.
- If possible, make sure your computer is not in an isolated room.
- Rearrange furniture, set things up so it's not so easy to lose track of time while using the computer
- Have the radio on, perhaps a TV program that regularly mentions the time of day
- Change your habits. If you tend to get online first thing upon awakening, choose something else to do first.
- Try taking a holiday, unplug every now and then and use that time to sort
out priorities and goals.
- Make sure you finish all your important chore first, and then perhaps allow yourself some online time as a reward.
- Cultivate other interest, hobbies and passions.
- Take a walk rather than sit down and log on.
- Turn off auto sign-ins, use busy signals, and don't be afraid to delete and block people.