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:

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.

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.

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!”)

— 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.”

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.