How did we live before the internet? Like an alcoholic sitting in a support circle, I need to gulp before admitting that I am an internet addict. But in this I am not alone. My particular addiction has spread like wildfire around the globe. Millions are affected.
When I switch on the computer, I am soon checking my most visited websites. It is a well-worn path. First it's the BBC News and then the football section of that same website. Next it's on to Panoramio and Geograph to check statistics, developments and viewings. Next I'll go to MSN Hotmail to check emails and dump any unwanted advertising bumph that has appeared. Afterwards I check out my blog and any comments that have appeared. I will also trawl through associated favourite blogs and perhaps leave some comments of my own. Onwards to the "Hull Daily Mail" website for news on Hull City and crime in the East Riding. Then it's time to check out the weather forecast by returning to the wonderful BBC website.
It's all like a comfort blanket. I feel a warm glow when investigating these familiar websites. These regular destinations underpin any other forrays into the internet jungle that I might make - online purchases, food recipes, "The Bangkok Post", Ordnance Survey, Booking.com, The Sheffield Star, The Guardian, Wikipedia, Crossword Solver etc..
The internet is a wonderful phenomenon and compared with past generations we are blessed to have it at our disposal. On a daily basis, I continue to feel a real sense of awe whenever I log on. How can this magic happen? I look back to when I was a university student in the pre-internet dark ages. I was a very diligent, hard-working student - immersed in my studies. I spent hour upon hour in the university library. Often I'd have to order materials from other university libraries or waste oodles of time checking through obscure volumes in the stacks. If the internet had been around back then, the slow frustration of following research leads would have been massively reduced. Far less time would have been wasted.
I am sure that a forensic scientist or indeed a psychiatrist would be able to deduce much about the people we are by investigating our internet habits. The choices we make and our preferences are like footprints in the sand. I wonder what internet patterns you yourself have gradually established and what they might say about you.
While writing this post, I sidetracked to Wikipedia and discovered that IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder) is gradually being recognised as a problematic condition for many users. It has various different forms. Gulp! My name is Yorkshire Pudding and I am an internet addict...