I have been asked to speak on this topic several times by the media. It seems to be a favourite angle on the Internet, traditional media love sex and drugs. I have three comments on Addiction and three comments on the Internet which sum up my position.
Addiction is a way of surviving pain and deprivation. It dulls the pain, but avoids the real problem. Sometimes stopping the pain by any means is justified. The Internet can do this.
Anything can be addictive -- some adictions are more harmful than others. The Internet is not all that bad compared to some.
Total absorption and involvement is not necessarily addiction -- it may be a transcendental experience.
The Internet is a major shift in the primary media. It has made information available to all, a radical democratisation. It is not primarily about information but relationships. It connects people for every imaginable purpose. It is the first many-to-many media. This is a communication revolution. Many interests are threatened. Old media will struggles to survive as advertising moves online and as it becomes less relevant as better information about products and services spread socially without advetising (this will effect even Google).
Community is being redefined by the net. The intelligent agents on the net are people. People help people on the net -- it is the most cooperative enterprise people have come up with to date. It threatens nation-hood, it threatens competition.
Some people are paying this revolution close attention. Close attention is not addiction.
Walter Logeman 1996 (slightly revised 2007)
Created 1996. Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2007