Social Question

Shippy's avatar

What do you use the internet for?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) December 16th, 2012

There is a debate currently whether regular users of the internet are suffering depression so therefore use it a lot. Or people are becoming more depressed from regular internet usage.

Most of my friends hardly use it at all. A couple are on Face Book for example as they have travelled far, and use it as a means to keep in touch with friends. High usage can be beneficial to Social Phobics for example. As some sort of communication with the outside world is enjoyed.

I am a high user, for reasons I have said before, depression.

Do you see internet usage increasing? Do you think there is real value in the communications we experience or do you think that idea is a fools paradise?

What do you see yourself as using the net for? Has it been beneficial or detrimental to your social life?

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21 Answers

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

I think there is something about the link between depression and the internet and even people being addicted to it. (just like those people that play video games non-stop for hours and hours)

It does help people that have social issues as I know from my own experience it helped as I explored what was online, but my own personal reasons for being online have changed over the years. I now use it to spend time with a fab person as well as work so it has been beneficial to me in different ways, but I can see how it could be damaging to others as well.

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been a fluther addict for a few years, and am also very social in general.
I live rural and have had a very flexible schedule the last handful of years and enjoy rousing discussion with intelligent people that is lacking in my real life.
Fluther is the only interactive site I peruse. I dropped facebook a few years ago, boring and I could care less about reading others droll little daily life blips.
I could give a flying flip about your blow by blow account of your kitchen remodel or your grandbabies first words. haha

Otherwise, I also write, and use word, email, and just generally browse whatever piques my current interest.
I’m an information hound and live for learning.
Also with the dump the economy has taken the last few years the internet provides entertainment when in reality, I’d rather be traveling but, sadly, my travel budget is no longer a reality at this time.

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine and @coloma I feel pretty much the same. I use the net for quite narrowed down reasons these days. Whereas before I was all over the place (new toy). I do feel though my real social life took a dip. Since the net is a bit like “fast friends take out”.

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

If you are the type of person that loves to learn new things, then the internet is the best invention in the history of the world. @Shippy I do like your phrase “fast friends take out” as that sums it up perfectly.

Coloma's avatar

@Shippy Well, I am quality over quantity type, and while very socially inclined I have also thinned the herd, so to speak, of quite a few people in the last decade of my life. Being a cerebral type I just can’t stand the majority of people that have nothing to talk about but their petty little daily dramas and what they are cooking for dinner. haha
My 25 yr.old daughter is my best friend, she and her boyfriend are my pride and joy and I joke about “breeding your own kind.” lol

@TheProfoundPorcupine Agreed, for us brainiac types the net is a veritable cornucopia of learning delights.

hearkat's avatar

For me, I credit socializing on the internet as having improved my social skills and confidence, and helping me out of depression.

I was painfully self-conscious and incredibly shy, I was depressed my whole life. Being able to open up and discuss my experiences from the comfort of my home allowed me to recognize positive aspects in myself that no other environment provided… on the internet I am not judged by my physical qualities, but by my character. In time, I’m learning to let my character shine through my physical flaws.

As an introvert, I accept that I will never feel comfortable at parties or other such large social gatherings. But I have been able to overcome my social anxieties in order to get together with a group of strangers for activities organized on meetup.com… such as hiking, movies, dining, yoga, etc. In fact, I find it easier to get together with strangers than with coworkers at the office holiday party, for example. I guess it’s easier to not care what strangers think of you.

ucme's avatar

Stuff.

gailcalled's avatar

This morning I..

sent some end-of-year info and questions to my CPA

made donation to the fund for the new Humane Society building where the nice volunteers cut Milo’s nails once a month.

Wrote several haiku for a shut-in friend’s birthday

Looked up a recipe for carrot cake

Wished the partner of one of my nephew’s a happy birthday

Checked out the opening season of Downton Abbey

Checked into fluther

Peeked at an elementary lesson in Mandarin

Put myself online with my SSS statements and info and cancelled the snail mail.

And am about to write a short statement for my college June reunion page.

Signed out of fluther.

ETpro's avatar

I make my living as a Web Developer, so naturally, I am online a good deal of each day. I handle lots of communications via email and some by Facebook and Linkedin. With 2 remaining kids and 13 grandchildren scattered around the USA, Facebook is a blessing.

I use Goodreads.com to find interesting things for my reading list, and often correspond with other book lovers there. Of course, you all know how much time I spend on Fluther.

Past my current career as Web developer, my part-time job is writing. I use the Internet for research and to trade ideas with others interested in my current topic.

And in my time off, there’s always porn.

Depressed enough yet, or need I add more?

bookish1's avatar

Research, communication, entertainment, porn.

ETpro's avatar

Oh, I forgot news. I watch the network news at 6–7pm on cable, and often dial around between CNN, MSNBC and Fox “News”. Between all of those, it’s possible to glean a bit of what is really happening. But I start every day with the stories that Google and my local ABC affiliate station have aggregated. I also subscribe to Slate.com, Newsmax.com, MediaMatters.com, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal newsletters. Lots of my news comes via the Internet, and it provides a wonderful tool to follow up on articles of interest.

hearkat's avatar

My initial response illustrates a case where I responded to the details without answering the question

I have a smart phone, a tablet, and a laptop. I conduct nearly all my banking and bill-paying over the web; and do much of my shopping online, unless I can buy locally produced items directly from the grower/manufacturer.

I socialize and I research information online. I share photographs and view others’ work. I play games with friends that live across oceans. I communicate with family, friends, professional colleagues, vendors, and some patients via email. I check my health insurance claims, schedule some medical and car service appointments, I download books, magazines, music, and movies. I find recipes and restaurants and buy tickets to concerts, plays, art galleries, lectures, and movies via the internet.

I probably use it for more than I have listed, because I have had the world in my pocket since getting the iPhone over 5 years ago, and I couldn’t imagine going back to being without it.

Unbroken's avatar

I look up words ideas, questions, recipes, how to’s have a diary.

I irregularly browse news sites I get most of my news from newspapers and radios.

I find music and videos. I keep in contact with long distance friends or just jot a not or two to close by friends.

I find online deals compare prices and varities and eagerly await arrival.

I sign up for a million and one sites and newsletters that I rarely have time to read make me avoid my email.

It saves me money. Fulfills my cerebral needs, and probably interferes as well as aids my real life. Balance is something I always push. Am I depressed low grade but considering I have consistently been some form of depressed since my earliest memories, I wouldn’t link the two.

Shippy's avatar

@hearkat Thanks for both answers they were great.

downtide's avatar

I’m a high internet user but I’ve been depression-free for several years so I don’t necessarily think there’s always a correlation. I participate in several forums for various interests, I do some shopping online, I keep in touch with distant friends and family, I use it to co-ordinate meeting up with local friends and events, and I still play Second Life quite a lot.

I’m a very social person and on the whole the internet has been 100% beneficial to my social interations both online and offline. I’ve made a lot of good friends online that I would never have met otherwise, and some of them have become very close.

Brian1946's avatar

I use it for this, access to an online dictionary, news, videos, movie and tv show research, email, TV listings, an online calendar, image uploading, lottery results, buying stuff I can’t find at land stores, getting driving directions, checking my credit union account balances/activity, converting music videos to MP3’s, and other research.

hearkat's avatar

@downtide reminds me that the Internet allows me to keep in touch with loved ones who are far away, and also has introduced me to numerous new people… some of whom have become offline friends, and one who is my fiancé!

burntbonez's avatar

I do a lot of shopping on the internet. I research things. I find restaurants and vendors of all kinds of things. I make maps and get directions. I communicate with people in all kinds of ways. I don’t think that depression makes the internet any more or less useful. I mean, I don’t think people without depression are going to be less likely to use if.

Blackberry's avatar

Online videogames, downloading, paying bills and surfing. I’ve been to the deepest reaches of the internet and I’m never going back.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

—Online shopping. I can almost always find exactly what I need, and usually at a good price. What a joy it is not to deal with traffic, parking, and walking through large stores…all in the hope of finding an item that may or may not be available.

—Finding the operating hours for stores (for when I do venture out and do real shopping!), restaurants, and other businesses.

—Looking up telephone numbers, addresses, maps, and directions.

—Reading TV, movie, theatre, and concert reviews.

—Getting quick answers and information. Example: This afternoon, I couldn’t remember the difference between a referee and an umpire in the NFL; a 5-second internet search settled the matter.

—Online banking and bill paying.

Except for Fluther, which is provacative and intriguing, I never participate in blogs, message boards, chat rooms (do they even still exist?), etc. I also avoid Facebook. I think that people devote too much time to virtual relationships and not nearly enough time on human interactions and life experiences.

When you look back on 2012, what will you remember about the year? All those hours spent on Facebook, or the times when you went out and did something interesting?

downtide's avatar

I forgot to add one more thing. The Internet is for… (NSFW)

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