The Web: Love it. Hate it. It's here to stay. During the December holiday, I spent ten days offline. Upon my return, I was delighted to see I had fewer emails in my inbox than I thought (only 500). Several people were surprised not to have heard from me in ‘ages', and it gave me pause to consider how much time I spend on the caring and feeding of my Internet network. Does a week and one-half of offline play constitute an eternity? In the online world, apparently so.

According to a recent Harris Interactive Poll, U.S. adults are spending more time online than ever before. The average adult logged about 13 hours on the Internet per week (excluding email usage). Over 50 percent purchased something online within the last month. The age groups that spend the most time online are those aged 30-39 (18 hours). A close second are those aged 25-29 (17 hours) and 40-49 (17 hours). That's the equivalent of a part-time job, at least!

The question is whether those polled used the Internet for work purposes as well. I know I fall into that category. Is blogging, which contributes to messaging, branding, and your overall platform, considered work or play? Or both?

The neat thing about the Internet is we have turned some of our play into work-related activity, which should make work more fun, right? Not so. According to a report released earlier this week based on a survey of over 5,000 American households that was conducted for The Conference Board by TNS, a mere 45 percent of those surveyed claim they are satisfied with their jobs.

It's not just the unemployment rate that has made people less happy.

"While one in 10 Americans is now unemployed, their working compatriots of all ages and incomes continue to grow increasingly unhappy," says Lynn Franco, director of the Consumer Research Center of The Conference Board. "Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend."

For those surveyed in the under 25 category, job satisfaction dropped even lower to 35.7 percent. The overall job satisfaction rate is down from 61.1 percent in 1987, the first year in which the survey was conducted.

In 1987 the Internet was in an embryonic state. Today, with 80 percent of all U.S. adults online, life without the Internet would seem unimaginable. Increasing globalization and instant connectivity offer up a double-edge sword. The Internet is a Pandora's Box that opens up new frontiers of wanting and speed. I'm not at all blaming the Internet for our job dissatisfaction woes; it seems, however, there is an underlying dis-ease percolating at the workplace. A lot of it has to do with the pace at which people are expected to perform. Not everyone is suited to move at the speed of a Wall Street trader.

One thing is clear: our lives are changing. You can watch television on your computer; and you can surf the ‘Net on your television. Pretty soon the word multimedia will be a moot point altogether because most every aspect of our lives will be entangled in the World Wide Web.

How much time do you spend on the Internet in any given week? Take The Power of Slow poll to see where YOU land!

About the Author

Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.

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