This chapter of Watkins' book explores the issue of Internet addiction. He doesn't ever come to any consensus and that is intentional, he goes to great length to illustrate just exactly how the jury is still out on whether it is an actual psychological condition. Most of the chapter is a lit review on the subject but there are some anecdotal pieces from his own research that inform the topic. Most of the noteworthy stuff didn't fit nicely into a tweet, even a Tweetlonger except for this one:
"In October 2002 South Korea's Internet dilemma made international headlines after Kim (cont) http://tl.gd/2uqmtu
The other interesting factoid that he brings up, and I never knew before, was that the first incarnation of the concept of Internet Addiction as a potential condition started more as a joke than anything serious. Evidentally a psychiatrist took an article on Gambling Addiction and replaced the word Gambling with Internet and wallah! Now we have a new condition. People, including researchers and doctors, started to look seriously at the idea that this could possibly exist and now here we are. However, there are plenty of cases like the one mentioned in the above tweet that point to the fact that whether it is an actual condition or not it does pose a very real problem for some people.
Watkins spends much of the chapter exploring the concept of Internet Addiction as viewed through the habits of gamers who invest heavily in online role playing games like Everquest and World of Warcraft. He notes that it is not unusual for someone who plays these games to devote more than the equivalent of a 40 hour work week to their game play. However, Watkins notes, this is not always a problem and there may be people for whom plugging in and spending considerable time in the "other world" is the best of all options, it really depends on the situation of the user.
This got me thinking this morning about my time online and more specifically, my time engaged in my personal learning network, which prompted me to ask this question this morning on Twitter:
PLN: Are we a guild?
@anderscj Yes, PLNs could be considered a type of guild
@russgoerend that was where i started in coming to the question
@anderscj I get to be Leroy.
There seems to be a lot of similarities between my involvement with people in my PLN and the involvement that people heavily invested in WoW have with their "guilds." For one, I rarely disconnect from my PLN, while I am at work it is "always on" and I check for updates and often contribute comments, posts, and share links well into the evenings. WoW players have been known to spend obscene numbers of hours devoted to their game play. My PLN is social, I interact with real people in virtual space. WoW players play socially within guilds, interacting with real people in virtual space. Watkins describes the majority of the relationships people in WoW guilds as "weak ties" and notes that they often change guilds and pursue quests with other groups. This is exactly the type of relationship I have with the majority of the people in my PLN. The difference is that our "guild," much like the guilds that existed long ago, exists for the pursuit of something that we at least perceive as more real and less virtual.
@anderscj If you consider loose association of craftsmenship a guild. And you consider teaching a craft .
@snbeach but not everyone in my pln considers themselves a teacher
@anderscj Isn't a guild an association of craftsmen?
@snbeach perhaps learning is a craft.
@anderscj hmm that is interesting. and our art is our ideas?
Perhaps I too suffer from Internet Addiction.