Acceleration of Addictiveness

People commonly use the word “procrastination” to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what’s happening as merely not-doing-work. We don’t call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working.

Paul Graham’s The Acceleration of Addictiveness.

15 thoughts on “Acceleration of Addictiveness

  1. I think that’s because you can quit Internet surfing and start working (almost) instantly. If you are getting drunk you have to sober up first. Getting drunk is a much more committed form of “procrastination”, hence why we don’t call it that. 😉 Funny idea though…

  2. Balance has been important for me to be aware of online time. I can tell when being on line becomes to much. I have found having boundries with the net is similar to boundries with people. I can make the rules. I can tell when my battery is low and I need time to recharge. It is a challenge and yes I believe it can beoome addictive. With other addictions some times the rule can be abstinence. This is a difficult one with the net being such an important part of todays society and work. Nature is a good way to recharge and balance, as just being quiet can do wonders. I’m sure lots of study will be done on this topic in the future.

  3. Procrastination is when you avoid what you’re supposed to do, and instead do just about nothing. Getting drunk or playing board games with your friends is not procrastination – declining an invitation to play board games because you have to study and then reading blogs instead, that’s procrastination.

  4. There’s a cloudy line between what procrastinating is compared to what your choices are. Procrastinating + bad choices = a problem.

  5. To me I see getting drunk as an avoidance to dealing with emotions, a numbing of the mind. The internet is an avoidance of doing what you are supposed to be doing. It can also be used to take the mind away from what you don’t want to think about as well, sad emotions, work, etc. It’s more of an instant gratification and can be turned on or shut off very quickly.

  6. Hmmm . . . my work IS the internet. I don’t even remember the last time I did it for my own amusement. The gentleman recuses himself.

  7. Huh. I don’t look forward to being online. I can’t say the same thing about drinking. It doesn’t happen when I wake up in the morning and, at that time of day, it’s usually the last thing from my mind. Now, around 5 o’clock PM that all changes, so wouldn’t that mean I’m actually not addicted to the internet but I might be addicted to….

    Oh, pooh. I really wish I hadn’t read this. Damn you, Matt.

  8. I share your concern about the addictive nature of all things digital. I think those who’ve “grown up digital” are at the biggest risk for addiction. I have more comments on the effects of the digital age at

    It’s not a pretty picture and I feel the addiction myself. Your readers might also find the PBS special, The Digital Nation, interesting. Can be viewed online or purchased. I highly recommend it.

  9. Internet addiction is more disruptive to our thought patterns than drinking is, the difference being that the internet is central to conducting business. As long as that’s the case, internet addiction (and its side-effects) will be excused.

  10. Bah.

    Fastest way to break this addiction is make it required…

    I *should* spend more time promoting on Facebook.

    I *should* spend more time promoting on Twitter.

    I’m a bad marketer. I’d rather sand my surfboards.

  11. I totally get where this guy is coming from when he talks about the internet and technology being an addiction, I have had issues myself. It’s way to easy to just start surfing or working on the computer and to discover only hours later you have spent the entire day in front of the screen! I have to monitor my behavior all the time now just to make sure I don’t overdo. My over use of the computer has caused repetitive stress injuries to my hips, legs and other body parts. I remember how we used to laugh at George Jetson’s sore “button pushing finger,” it’s not so funny now! Who would have ever thought this would be an issue? I have managed the injuries by limiting my computer time, exercising, and taking walks.

    I was happy to read in the article that the writer didn’t own a iPhone or other smart phone. For a while I was feeling like the only remaining Luddite on the planet that refused to carry an iPhone, Blueberry, Droid, or whatever smarty phone. I don’t mind being reachable, I just don’t want to be THAT reachable. LOL! I carry a Trac phone when I’m out, I forward my office phone to it, even then it’s usually off, I figure if it’s important, they will leave a message. And, don’t EVEN get me started on texting! HELLO??? It’s a PHONE!, just call them, actually talk to a person! It’s not that hard, really!

    Join me in the Luddite revolution! Put down the smarty phone! Step away from the computer! Let’s go take a walk!


    Case in point here: I just started to read Matt’s blog, got hooked in, then spent EVEN more time writing my little anti-tecnology comment! This stuff is worse than crack!