These days, you often hear people lament how today’s society has become afflicted with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). A lifestyle characterized by constant multi-tasking, an inability to focus on one item to completion, and often neglecting to enjoy the rewards of one accomplishment before moving to the next activity or task. Frequently, this observation is made about the entire Internet (see here and here). (Note- my use of the term ADD is not intended to belittle the common behavior affliction Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD or ADHD) affecting 3%-5% of children and also known as Adult attention-deficit disorder when affecting adults. Rather, I’m using the term as a common contextual description of the impact of various lifestyle and technology shifts over the years.)
With the proliferation of web pages and content in the form of text, video, and audio from both professional and non-professional publishers, there is no shortage of choices on the Internet. When I think about my own personal Internet usage over the last 12+ years, I certainly fall into the category of one whose Internet usage moves from one site to another, gravitating to sites that offer fresh, new updated content. Sites that had static content would most likely be overlooked for a site that offered something new—the new content, available on both mobile and desktop devices, often offering a diversion from the routine work or home activity of the moment.
When looking back at the evolution of the types of Internet content that I’ve heavily consumed over the years, I think of the following 15 major categories of usage. Below they are listed in the sequential order of my usage over the last 12+ years, with e-mail being one of the first primary drivers of my usage to more recently, social media sites like Linkedin and Facebook and blog related activities.
- E-Mail– Yahoo!, Hotmail
- Sports Content– ESPN, CNNSi
- News updates– CNN, Yahoo! News
- Stock Updates– Y! Finance, Marketplace
- Forums/Groups– Redszone (Cincinnati Reds fan site), Y! Groups
- Online Photo sharing– Y! Photos, Shutterfly
- IM– MSN, Yahoo!
- My Yahoo– RSS feeds
- Linkedin– Professional Networking
- Facebook—pictures, applications, re-connecting to old friends
- Facebook– status messages
- Youtube– uploaded videos, video views and comments
- Twitter—status messages, evangelization of topics, links
- Blogs – WordPress & Feedburner stats, pageviews, search keyword results, comments, other blogs
The list above is shown in sequential order of my personal usage, not in terms of the heaviest usage patters. When thinking about how I’d rate those 15 usages in terms of low to heavy usage today for me (on a scale of 1-10), I’d present it as below (heaviest usage in green, lowest usage in red)
Some comments explaining my usage patterns
As a new blogger, blog related activities are the flavor of the day for my Internet usage.
Facebook offers frequently updated status messages which is the real driver of attracting me there several times a day.
As an avid sports fan, there will always be new sports articles, scores, and updates for me to find on the web. Also, with the increased popularity of Internet friendly activities like fantasy football, there are even more reasons for me to check sports content.
I’m getting accustomed to Twitter but it hasn’t replaced Facebook as the primary social media outlet for me—right now, I find it to be very useful tool to find content from thought leaders who are evangelizing a topic I’m interested in.
As more of a professional networking tool for me, Linkedin doesn’t have the same frequency of use as Facebook or Twitter these days, but with over 500+ connections, I’m definitely a heavy user.
Two years ago, Instant Messaging would have been one of the top 2 usages for me. But as IM become more of an accepted form of communication for work related communications, I’ve found that I’ve decreased my usage so that I can actually get some work done during the day.
Perhaps a unique aspect of my usage was the usage of the site Myfamily.com for the last seven-eight years as a way to stay in touch with family in US and India, way before I ever used Facebook or even Instant Messaging. However, with the advent of Facebook and the majority of my family members joining it, the added functionality and installed base of Facebook has led to declined Myfamily.com usage.
Four years ago MyYahoo! was the starting point for my web usage—with RSS feeds from established news and sports site along with feeds from lesser known blog sites as well. But now MyYahoo! feels stale to me and use different forms of RSS readers as my RSS aggregator.
As an avid Cincinnati Reds (baseball) fan, I was a frequent visitor to Redszone: a fan forum for Reds fans. However, with the now seven plus year struggle for respectability for the Reds, my usage is much lower—of course, if the Reds are battling for a pennant come August, I’m sure usage will spike up.
That’s today’s sources of my Internet ADD. I think I’ll re-visit this every 6 months to see how Internet trends have affected me and what I will and will not embrace.