Where Do They Find These People?

Last Updated on: 23rd October 2013, 11:50 am

I just read the following story over on CNET and something about it stuck out at me enough that I felt the need to post it here along with my comments, since I think that somewhere along the line, somebody with a functioning brain needs to weigh in on it and point out how time wastingly stupid things like this are. But since noone with a functioning brain is available, I guess I’ll have to do. My comments are the ones in bold just in case some of you are as clueless as the people involved in this crap and would actually think that a journalist would write that way in the middle of his article even if he might want to.

Tobacco companies, drug cartels and Starbucks beware–the Internet may be giving you a run for the money in the addiction department.

According to a study sponsored by Yahoo and advertising company OMD, Internet detox makes people feel emotionally vacant and lost in life.

Ok, right off the bat, I noticed something. Yahoo says that 2 weeks without internet access makes people feel lost in life. Yahoo, which is one of the largest internet companies in the universe, with their hands in everything from shopping and auctions to providing email and internet service itself. What were they going to say, that nobody gives a rat’s ass if they’re off the net for a couple of weeks because it’s really not that important? Studies from Yahoo telling us that we need the internet to survive are about as valuable and trustworthy as findings released by the Recording Industry that support the idea that peer to peer downloading is causing the drop in record sales, an idea which as it happens is the very same one that the people throwing the money at the research are in full support of. Maybe that’s my whole problem with things like this, the fact that they’re not so much studies as they are horn blowing out of self-interest. The day that one of these major corporations cites a study that goes against everything they’ve been saying, maybe then I’ll sit up and take notice in a positive way but until then, leave the studying to the truly independent researchers and the spin doctoring to the professional propagandists.

Twenty-eight participants were asked to record their thoughts and feelings during a two-week period of no Net usage. From studying the subjects’ video and written diaries, researchers noticed that two weeks of Internet deprivation affected social lives and left many feeling bored.

Not surprisingly, the study’s sponsors said the results provide a good opportunity for marketers.

If I could sum up my reaction to that last sentence in 1 word, that word would be “duh!” I hate it when writers do that, state the obvious in an attempt to fill space and make their story look longer and somehow more informative. Considering that the study was conducted by a marketing company and another company that might as well be one, what was our crack reporter expecting? I know that Yahoo has lots of money to throw around but why would they waste their time doing anything that they didn’t think would eventually enable them to somehow suck even more money out of the socially lost consumer? They’re a corporation, they wouldn’t, it’s that simple, let’s move on.

“It allows a rare glimpse into the reasons consumers make the choices they do and how they are emotionally impacted,” said a statement from Wenda Harris Millard, Yahoo’s chief sales officer. “We can then help marketers apply these insights to reach their target audiences.”

Perhaps I’m missing something here, but what use is a study of net deprivation in the world of online marketing? Just think about that for a second. You’re taking the internet away from these people and seeing how they react, and then expecting that the same reactions will apply when you give it back to them. In case you’re not following where I’m going with this, let’s look at it another way. Let’s say that I’m strangling you just to watch your reaction. I notice that your face is turning colours and that you’re thrashing around trying desperately to escape. That much makes sense. Then I stop strangling you and let you go on your way after making sure that you’re just fine. Now following Yahoo logic, even though you are no longer being strangled by me or anyone else, you’re still going to turn colours and thrash around in a desperate attempt to escape because that’s what you did the last time. Sounds pretty stupid doesn’t it? That’s what I thought too.

Respondents expressed frustration in completing tasks or shopping without the Internet.

If you’re at the point where you can’t shop without the internet, maybe you need more than a couple weeks away from the computer, and perhaps a little time outside so you can once again familiarize yourself with concepts such as the mall.

Socially, people found they were unable to maintain relationships with people outside their immediate circle of close friends, since many of them used e-mail or instant messaging programs instead of phones to keep in touch.

Finally something I can agree with and understand. I’ve got online friends from all over the place and naturally, if I’m not online, I won’t be talking to them. Same logic would apply if they took my phone away. It’s still stating the obvious, but at least the point isn’t completely retarded so our friendly reporter gets a pass here, I’m not a complete asshole you know. That’s right, some parts are still missing.

In the workplace, the subjects noticed a sharp change in their behavior as well. Reading the paper and calling friends gave an impression of laziness among their co-workers, in contrast to staring at PCs while surfing news sites and zipping out e-mails.

Would it be ok if I were to use duh for a second time here? What other impression is reading the gardening section and chatting to your friends on the phone at any time other than lunch supposed to give other than one of laziness? Well unless you’re the boss, that’s different.

In fact, many noticed that the Internet gives them cover for doing personal activities while creating the impression that they’re working.

The fact that these people are just realizing now that the internet is incredibly good at hiding that you’re not doing your job would normally frighten me, but considering that we’re dealing with individuals who have forgotten what a mall is for makes it a little easier to deal with.

“I miss the private space the Internet creates for me at work,” said “Kim V.,” a participant cited in this study who neglected to take into consideration that all of her emails and surfing history are being constantly monitored and documented by her employer.

The study was released in conjunction with Advertising Week in New York City.

The people responsible for Advertising Week must be so proud. I know if I were them I wouldn’t want that fact getting out.

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