When You Work Online, How Much Internet Is Too Much Internet?

The internet is a way of life for some people. There are reports of a man in China who basically lives in an Internet cafe. From Digital Spy:

Li Meng, a keen gamer, is said to pay the cafe in Changchun, China a fee of around a quarter of his monthy income of 2,000 yen (£212). He is thought to earn the money by selling virtual goods on the internet.

He reportedly rarely leaves his chair, only doing so briefly to wash and buy food, reports the Beijing Times (via Business Insider).

Another source explained that Meng refuses to communicate with anyone unless it’s online.

I found myself relating to this statement: “Meng refuses to communicate with anyone unless it’s online.”

It struck me that I also prefer to communicate with people online or via text. I think most of our generation is this way. Talking to someone over the phone is something that’s reserved for necessary purposes only, like talking to our parents, making a doctor’s appointment or a job interview. Otherwise, if it can be done online, it shall be done online.

group of people

People? What the hell are “peo-ple”? Do you mean @gmail.coms?

As a freelance writer, I’ve often said that the Internet is my office. I work all day staring at a screen, then in between staring at a computer screen I stare at the screen on my phone, and then when work is done, I stare at a TV screen or the computer screen again. The Internet melds work + recreation seamlessly. Damn you, Hulu. And damn you, Mad Men, for not being on Hulu.

don draper smoking

Your apologies mean nothing to me, Don. They’re as empty as Betty’s heart.

It would be very, very easy for me to spend days in my apartment, emerging only to buy food and other necessary items. This is vaguely horrifying when I think about it. Please don’t misunderstand; I love being able to work at home and I love what I do. But in any job, there are pros and cons.

— Being able to make my own schedule.
— Going to work without pants.
— Making happy hour whenever I want it to be.
— Moving my work location by taking my laptop to a cafe or park for a change of scenery.
— Calling my boss a bitch to her face (because I’m looking in a mirror! Get it? Oh man, I’m getting edgy here!)
— Narrating what I’m doing out loud in the form of song (To the tune of 4 Non-Blonde’s “What’s Up?”: “I got some eeeee-eeeee-eeee-mail whoooooo’s it from — it’s e-mail! From Dominos!”)

woman crying black and white

Getting emails from Dominos Pizza is a very special kind of sad.

— There is no one here to tell me, “What the hell are you doing, put on some pants, put down the bottle of wine, and keep working.” (Not that this happens every day. I swear.)
— I have deadlines that I have to keep and it’s up to me to manage my time. I’m accountable for everything. I can’t blame anything on Cynthia in marketing. Not that she ever existed.
— My work and my home are the same place; it’s sometimes hard to mentally separate the two.
— The kids next door are never in school; instead they’re shouting in their front yard, every day, while their mother/grandmother/someone yells, “Miiiiiichael. MIIIICHAEL! MICHAEL!” over and over while I think, “DAMN YOU MICHAEL, ANSWER HER, JUST ANSWER HER. PLEASE.”

michael douglas angry


Again, I love that I can do this and I wouldn’t trade it for a 9-5 desk job. But I wonder if this is healthy, spending so much time alone and spending so much time staring at screens. I think my eyesight is getting worse. I should get out more. See friends. In real-life. Not via Facebook. Damnit, that reminds me, I forgot to call Laura Kadner. And by call, I of course mean text.

How much of the internet takes up your life?

Images via Shutterstock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612021447 Ste Gough

    The only difference here is I work 9-5 in an office staring at a computer screen, then I go home and do much of the same… sweet relief is when one of my facebook friends asks me to go for a drink, or my band has a gig. Otherwise I’d spend all of my time infront of a screen.
    I often wonder how peaceful life would be without the internet. Probably lonely, but I guess it would help evolve the social skills our generation seems to be lacking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625480040 Johanna Sch

      Same here! If I didn’t go to the gym and my mother periodically forced me out of the house (yes, I’m back with my parents, oh joy!), I would do nothing but stare at screens all day. As I’m adjusting to having a job (sigh), I do find that I make time on weekends to actively be away from the computer, though. So maybe we’re the lucky ones, because we’ve noticed how much friggin time we spend staring at screens?! Yes, I think that’s definitely it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1130994595 Carolyn Fields

    I relate to this article. I have been spending more and more time in front of various screens lately (computer, phone, TV), although I did get out yesterday for a few hours to do something “in person.” This is food for thought. Perhaps we should all schedule some “outside” time every day. You know, like recess :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000131675235 Jethro Almirez-Sas

    I love it! I think I experience it along the way too. Thanks for this wonderful post. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25105541 Shannon Deger

    Thank you, Almie! I work remotely so I totally understand the constant attachment to screens and lack of separation between home/office. Unfortunately, I am not my own boss, so while I do get to work without pants (best thing EVER!) I am obliged to answer phone calls. And I find myself saying after most phone calls, “seriously, why didn’t they just email me?!”
    I think I can face my workday with a little more sanity now :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20702848 Terri Deno

    I’m a freelance writer too, and I can admit that I’ve juggled four screens at once (computer, Kindle, phone and TV) and still didn’t manage to get anything done. Such is the life of a freelancer… I still wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1139572549 Susie Klein

    Yep, you just described my life. All I would add is a dog who stares at me periodically to remind me to get up and walk around a bit and let her out. Scary.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505212393 Alexandra Pettinato

    I often feel exactly the same way! I love working from home, and for myself – but it can have it’s drawbacks.

    I also have a dog who reminds me to get up and step away from the computer/phone/etc!

    I have a terrible habit of insisting on communicating through email rather than telephone (which can sometimes be problematic for old school clients).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509680398 Kirthan Aujlay

    I spend all day online (working in social media, no less) and yet I still come home and immediately log onto Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr if I haven’t already checked them on my phone on the way home.

    Oddly enough, I write for a website in my spare time and even though it still involves me spending time at a computer, it somehow seems better than spending all day in front of a computer in an office.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501989479 Lizzie McCarthy

    This was very funny – loved it! But I do think you need to GO OUTSIDE MORE!!!
    You have to balance all that a little bit with some lovely time in the beautiful non-online world that is the outdoors…..its will make you feel SO GOOD, I promise. I may sound like a hippy….but maybe go and hug a tree or swim in the sea or just feel some real life nature…. I fear staring at a houseplant may not be enough though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539487176 Lloyd Foss

    Is is sad that I can relate to this article?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=657740696 Melanie Seaward

    I can totally relate to this because I am doing a degree online right now. Also I tend to be online a lot. ….. think I’ll go watch tv, and maybe take a shower 0_0

  • Pingback: Meanwhile, elsewhere on the internets... | The Peach()

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