Fascination and addiction, what is it that the internet does to us

A long time ago, I got interested in technology. It began with a Commodore I got for birthday, I started writing machine code, what a waste of time. I managed to get a little guy to jump across the screen. A decade or two later, I tried Bulletin Board Systems, I did gopher, text seach on an early internet, and text, turn based games with students across the world.

I ended up doing a masters in communication, writing about interpersonal communication and the internet, for cancer.dk. I’ve now done 15 years or so of work, in this business. My professional as well as personal life is permeated with technology.

What is it that fascinates me and people so much with the internet, that they live virtual lives there? I’ve spend days, weeks, months on games, and sometimes still do, gaming with people I dont know, competing, working together etc.

This is what drives me, the urge to find out, explore, study, the forces that makes us go online, link up etc. as much as we do. I recently read an article that sais something like, people play games and level their characters because it makes them feel like the are good at something, and often the challenges at just about repeating and spending as much time on the task as possible.. I’m sure this is true for games.

I say that this is true for social media too, for tons of people. People link up, connect, join networks and the like, because it makes them feel like they achieve something.Many of the mechanisms out there are very addictive. Many are very fun, some bring meaning and value, and most try to get you to spend as much time with them as possible. As you probably do too, or hopefully, I often wonder about the value of what Im doing on the internet og with games etc etc. Often I come the conclusion that it’s a waste of time, but lately, I’m getting better at accepting the facts. Makes it much easier to do the stuff I do, when I’m aware of what it brings me, or doen’t bring me, in terms of personal value.

I’m schooled in business. The combination of business and addictive concepts is very strong. There is a lot of money to be made, and that is nice, but think about the value it brings you, besides getting rich. I’m always “surfing” to get inspiration, experience to use in my work, and often just for fun. But I wonder, if there always should be a value in your time spend. I would like to think that there is. Sometimes I must admit, its just a waste of time. Its ok when Im aware, but I would so much love to spend my time on purposes that brings meaning into the internet, value to the users, and in the end a way of living to me. I get paid to derive meaning and combine concepts to value/meaning for businesses, and that is fun.

I hope to find that one addictive concept, that will be my way of living, and that would bring meaning, maybe a fun time, and value some people. Real value.

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