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Netaholics Anonymous

Posted by on 2 July 2008

netaholicHello. My name is Mimi. And I’m a netaholic.

My dependence on the internet started in the early 90’s when I first discovered the world of IRC (Internet Relay Chat). I made friends from all over the world online. I became an op in an IRC channel largely frequented by Americans. (I shied away from Malaysian channels because my Malay was so bad back then!) Through IRC, I learned that most of the things we see in American movies do happen IRL (in real life). I learned to use Linux from my online friends. I even managed to partition my harddisk at that time — one section for Windows, one for Linux. Maybe that doesn’t sound that much, but try learning that online, from people who come and go at the oddest times. I’m living, breathing proof that distance education works ;) And long before Skype became popular, I chatted with some of my friends from IRC using NetMeeting. Despite using dial-up! Ahh…those were the days.

Then email came along. I remember my first web-based email address on HoTMail. I’m talking about HoTMail waaaay before Microsoft acquired it. Despite the fact that I’ve long stopped using HoTMail, I’m still addicted to email. Now I’ve got Gmail and Yahoo email accounts. Plus my office emails. Plus my personal email from my ISP (internet service provider). I’d have to admit I even signed up for a new Ymail account. Yes, I am so addicted to email that I get all jittery when I don’t get to check email within a few hours.

Then I started blogging. When I’m eating something or looking at a photograph I took, I tend to start thinking of a nice blog entry for it. But my case is not that bad. I did an online test just this morning and found out that I’m only 54% addicted to blogging. Not bad, right? Right?

When I need to look up something, again, I turn to the the internet as it provides me with all the tools and answers — online translation services, dictionaries, FAQs and how-to’s, conversion services (currency, measurements, time), encyclopedias, weather forecasts, the latest news and sports updates…the list is endless! I just make sure I stick to reliable sources so that I get the right information.

Of course, I haven’t mentioned online banking. How can I not love online banking? I can pay my bills anytime, without having to queue at the bank. Sure, it hurts when my bank slaps me a RM2 service charge everytime I pay my credit card bill through an online transfer but, on a second thought, if I drove to the bank, I’d be spending more than RM2 for petrol, parking and car wear and tear. If I sent a cheque and it gets lost in the mail, I’d end up paying more than RM2 for finance charges. So I guess RM2’s quite fair.

And have I mentioned that I shop online all the time? I’ve bought pizza from a popular franchise, nursing clothes from a Malaysian site, books from the world’s famous online book shop, a camera bag from an American e-tailer. I bought online a set of rubber duckies for the daughter of a friend who now lives in the UK. Sounds mundane, but the little girl loved it, and I didn’t have to worry about packaging or postage. Pray, tell me, just who can resist online shopping? Stuff from all over the world is made accessible to anyone with online access and a credit card or PayPal account! And online shopping makes it easier to purchase personal stuff that you may feel too shy to buy in person, like lingerie for your wife or incontinence products for yourself.

Oh, and I also buy plane tickets online. I even check-in online and print out my own boarding pass.

I just can’t imagine a world without the internet anymore. Can you?

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