Web deprivation causes withdrawal symptoms

Most regular users of the Internet have a hard time being offline for a day, but 28 brave people in the U.S. gave up their connections for 14 days in the name of advertising.

Most regular users of the Internet have a hard time being offline for a day, but 28 brave people in the U.S. gave up their connections for 14 days in the name of advertising.

The study, released at Advertising Week 2004, found that when regular users of the Internet are taken offline for extended periods, they suffer from technological deprivation.

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Those in the study felt hobbled by not having near-instantaneous access to maps, phone numbers, and e-mail.

“I feel out of the loop,” two participants said of not having e-mail access. The majority of participants either forgot or lost the desire to use “old fashioned” tools like phone books, newspapers and telephone customer service.

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Away from home, participants tried to compensate for their lack of connectivity at work.

In lieu of e-mail and online news, participants called friends and read the newspaper. As a result, colleagues thought they appeared unproductive and lazy.

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About Robert J. Ballantyne

Robert Ballantyne is Artsculture's Creative Director. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star and other media outlets.

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