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A digital Obsession - Why is it that the Internet seems to have such big impact on our Lives?

Dear Ted'sters,

Working in Advertising, I spend most of my spare time (Okay, I must admit also a great percentage of my Office time) scanning the Internet for Articles, Virals or great Blogs that inspire my Ideas at work.

The Web helps me to stay updated with interests and trends of my Clients an their Target group. It also helps in private life get access to foreign cooking recipes or to stay connect with old friends from school living on the other side of the globe.

These are just a few examples to admit, yes i am a digital addict.
And this is the part that scares me, the more time I spend online, the more I notice a feeling of being lost. I see my social profiles, reflecting the guy I wish to be and not who I am.

Its not any more: "I am, what I am" but "I am, what I share"

I believe to see a transformation of our Species: Once being a "Analog-Human being" to becoming a " Multi-Life Digital Creature". I see people spending more time in networks then with friends or family in real life. For most of the people it has gone so far that "Not being available per cell phone" feels like missing a precious limb of their own body.

Now I ask you, dear User, do you feel the same:

Why is that everyone is so obsessed with digital?

Or even better, how come the impact of the technological development in connection to businesses, organizations and people has made such a big impact in our lives?

This really interests me, and I would love to hear your opinion on why most Humans and Company thrive in the world wide web?

It would be great if you could take some time, think about this and share us your wonderfull thoughts on this topic.

Best Regards

  • Jan 12 2012: Knowledge. Communication with an infinity of people. Efficiency. Cost. Fun.
  • Jan 11 2012: it's planetary consciousness, it's more then a database of URLS and media. the reason why we can't live without it is simple, it's the newest and highest density of connection, it connects the world. It provides the most relavant "dialect" of consciousness, not latin. think about Egypt, when Menes united upper and lower section to form a nation. then, the highest form of consciousness was national, thus their loyal worship of the pharoahs and other heirarchy via elaborate constructions, beliefs, values, and direct worship. doesnt that sounds like the internet as well? There's almost no escaping its structure , just like back then. I have a question for you: where does consciousness go from here?
  • Jan 10 2012: beforehand, please excuse me for my poor English.
    i would love to answer from my country point of view. i lived at Indonesia, a develop country. and in here we just starting experienced the digital era.
    the obsession of internet actually comes from our obsession of information.
    since dawn of civilization, information have a great role in shaping people mind.
    the internet erase border and limitation to accessing information.
    the impact of internet is fundamental to our modern civilization.
    not only in business, but also in education, healthcare, etc

    with internet one person can spread idea to millions overnight
    communicating with people that separated by ocean at lighspeed
    and gain information anytime they want
    of course all action have a consequence. youngster at my country began to forget the value that we have.

    as an astrophysicist said - we are heading to type 1 civilization. that is planetary civilization.
    internet is the most powerful media that connect people, organization, and business.
    with entire planet connected new frontier unfold.
    its up to us how to use internet wisely.

    and about why people and company thrive in the world wide web. its because you can reach more people with world wide web and therefore sharing ideas and product far and wide.
    thank you for the opportunity to share Idea. thanks
  • Jan 10 2012: {quote} the more time I spend online, the more I notice a feeling of being lost. I see my social profiles, reflecting the guy I wish to be and not who I am. {unquote}

    I have pulled the above quotation from your text... it suggest that you are feeling some anxiety about who you think you are. Does your 'net personality feel better than you in real life?

    Spending time communicating with other people is (mostly) worthwhile. It enriches our own life experiences and we an use that experience to enrich the lives of the people with whom we communicate. The internet has opened lines of communication for many people who would not normally have had the opportunity to speak with people in other countries and thereby gain a new cultural perspective.

    You are based in Hamburg, a City of which I know absolutely nothing. Through talking to you via the internet, I can come to know something about Hamburg, German life and the social milieu in which you live and then I can make comparisons with my own experiences and see how our lives differ. Travel broadens the mind and travelling virtually can help the observer to expand their own perspectives.

    Despite appearances to the contrary, an internet persona can be entirely false and misleading and it helps people test concepts and ideas for themselves, without necessarily publicly committing their personal resources to an issue. I guess that, for some people, there will be a degree of comfort to be derived from the anonymity bestowed upon us by the internet.

    Personally, I use the 'net as a resource for educating myself and keeping in contact with relatives who may not be conveniently nearby. I do an amount of online shopping and I maintain an interest in subjects related to my work. My membership of TED is a new departure for me and it has arisen out of what is possibly my need for human company, notwithstanding the point raised earlier in this post; about the possibility that one's virtual identity may be completely false.
  • Jan 9 2012: I think people love the Internet for two main reasons. The Internet allows them to satisfy their need to communicate with their friends, families and similar minded people. It lets them feel part of a bigger community whether it is on Facebook, G+, blogs and or at TED.

    The Internet also empower people by giving them unprecendented access to information about anything. People want to be well informed about what is happening around them and traditional media (TV, newspapers, library) are very limited.

    Basically the Internet can satisfiy our basic human needs of belonging and knowing.cheers
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    Jan 14 2012: "This really interests me, and I would love to hear your opinion on why most Humans and Company thrive in the world wide web?"

    Hi Marco, It's interesting that our last names are so similar!

    I feel that communication via the web has to be broken down into two parts - the send, and the receive. For me, it's fun to receive. It's exciting: usually interesting, sometimes validating, and even mysterious or thought-provoking... it also makes me angry, or sad, on occasion. In essence, it makes me feel something.

    The question I keep asking myself is, do I often share, or 'send', (FB profiles, twitter, etc.) because I've become dependent on the feelings I just described, when I 'receive'? For example, as I write this, I'm keenly interested in how you will respond to this post, if at all.

    Perhaps like you, I'm beginning to question my own motives for allowing the web to play a growing part in the way I live. It's clearly meeting some needs. The other thing I wonder is, will my appetite for all of this ever be satiated, if left unchecked?