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Welcome to The Age of the Web Hermit 264

tyroneking writes "Phil Hartup on bit-tech.net has captured the Zeitgeist of the web-aware generation: The Age of the Web Hermit describes how some lucky souls can live their lives, earn money, buy necessities and even find love on the Internet. 'Is there anything that we really need good old fashioned Real Life for any more?'; not me!"
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Welcome to The Age of the Web Hermit

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:04PM (#15733249)
    Is there anything that we really need good old fashioned Real Life for any more?
    Pussy comes to mind.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:09PM (#15733296)
    ... then you're probably pretty much connected to the Real World. Running water, power, fancy new video boards... someone in the real world is providing those items.

    I don't think this is any more isolation than a serious resident of the library used to be 50 years ago. And when people in NY figured out (decades ago) that they could, say, write books for a living and have Chinese delivered at 3:00AM... it's scarecely different. In fact, I'd argue that a lot people who used to be hermits (or would have been if they were born 20 years earlier) are probalby more connected to the real world because the internet exists.

    Unless, as I suspect, I'm currently typing this text into a big, scalable, and very flawed Turing test machine. If a response is posted to this, its non-sequitor-ness will prove my suspicions. Go!
  • Shut-ins (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:10PM (#15733301)
    There have always been shut-ins. The net just gives them more to do behind their drawn curtains and locked doors. Some people may see this as cool, but in the long run we look as such people as kooky. We all need to interact with others, that is just our nature. We are social creatures whether we like it or not. Some more so than others to be sure, but still.

    Can you live locked in a basement having evrything shipped to you and slid under the door? Sure, but to me that sounds very much like prison.

    No thanks.
  • by JorDan Clock ( 664877 ) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:18PM (#15733357)
    Just because you can do those things on the internet doesn't necessarily mean it's better to do them there. Humans, by nature, are social animals. There is only so much interaction a web page or an IM can provide.

    I mean, when was the last time someone gave you a hug through your monitor?
  • by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:19PM (#15733371) Homepage

    From the article: "...we have to ask ourselves -- is there anything that we really need good old fashioned Real Life for any more? Is a life of doing things and meeting people as our primitive ancestors in the late 20th Century knew it becoming redundant?"

    Let's assume that a billion people on Earth have the money and time to be online regularly. (this is probably more than the real number) That leaves more than five billion without such a thing. There are significant percentages of people in rural parts of the world (from Africa to America and everywhere in between) who don't even have electricity, telephones, or real plumbing. And let's not even talk about food and medicine.

    The upshot? If you have the capacity for living most of your life online, and you can take all that real-life survival stuff for granted, you are enjoying a life of luxury. And the best part is that, online, you will almost never encounter those poor starving folks, so you can safely ignore their existence (just like you do on your way to Starbucks). Enjoy!

    Quick check: in terms of income, how do you rank globally [globalrichlist.com]?

    (Go ahead, mod me as a troll... I've got karma to burn.)

  • by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:24PM (#15733398) Homepage

    Or perhaps you just need new friends. My friends and I go out plenty of times without resorting to getting plastered.

    Its called being comfortable with yourself so you don't have to get drunk and act like you're not yourself

  • by G-funk ( 22712 ) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:48PM (#15733575) Homepage Journal
    Psst! Here's a tip. It's not staying off the booze that makes regular people not want to go out with you guys, it's your attitude. Whenever my mates go out there's always a couple of people who don't drink, or *gasp* just have a couple. And nobody cares. I know Timmy the jock made fun of you for not being able to drink a whole six-pack (wow) when you were 16, but people grow up.
  • by ArmyOfFun ( 652320 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:58PM (#15733652)
    The average non shut-in American will probably never encounter a poor starving person either. Before the internet, most Americans were probably already finding out about poor starving people via mainstream media. An internet shut-in might have an extra layer of insulation against the poor starving masses, but most Amercians insulation was already complete.

    I'll counter that it's far easier to find out about and read about poor starving people than it was before the internet. It's also easier to research and donate to various charities. All the ones I know about and donate to readily accept credit card payments over the internet.

  • by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <kittensunrise@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday July 17, 2006 @04:58PM (#15733655) Journal
    You've got that reversed. It's not that the drunk people don't want to hang out with sober people, it's that sober people don't want to hang out with drunk people. I'll have some wine or hard lemonade every now and then, but I'm over the stage where I enjoyed getting plastered, and now people just look like idiots to me when they're drunk, and not in an entertaining way.
  • Re:reminds me off (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @05:14PM (#15733789)
    "When people start substituting real life with a digitall one it usually doesn't end to well."

    I disagree. It depends on the person, who they are, and where they live. For me, it's quite the opposite. I get in more trouble when I do go out. I have and do substitute more and more my TV and internet time for so-called real life activities, because I find real life full of buffoons, incompetent asses, and authority abusers. And it's a bad cycle, because there ARE many good people out there; I know because of my life before I went this way, but less and less so because I think more and more people more like me are not going out but spending time on the internet or the like.

    I can interact with people. I find great enjoyment in interacting with good, intelligent people. Most people that I talk to actually like me (so I'm told). But, strange as it sounds, I have this extreme, near hate with interacting with people except my closest friends.

    Why? I almost always end up in trouble.

    Drive around? Get speeding tickets. You say don't speed, but I really don't. In Pennsylvania, USA, tickets are more like a tax given out for those 3rd shifters who have to get to work or those returning to the city. And law and magistrate system reflects that--the standard is guilty until proven innocent, no court recrods, not the other way around.

    Or gotta put up with same damn fool with road rage or driving your bumper. And being a loner by default, that puts you at risk--being a loner is considered "bad", and in an evidentiary based system, you are considered the evil party because, well, the other person has someone with them who bears false witness.

    Interact with family? My family is one of those families that appear nice, but are truly fucked up. Blames everyone else for their ills. I know when I'm wrong, but in my family, that makes me the one to blame since the one who does take responsibility is the only one and hence the one when something does go wrong is immediately blamed for, regardless of the actuality of the situation. It gets piled on.

    Go to the mall? Got screamed at, accused of groping (didn't), got walked over group when window shopping, etc.

    Go to movies? Yeah right. Well documented on /. I'll wait for the DVD, thank you.

    The other thing I do that I enjoy these days--food industry. Love restaurants, going out to eat. That's about it. Everything else is a damn chore, a task. I find more joy in doing laundry and watching CNBC then going out to the mall, movies, local bar, etc.

    People say humans are social individuals. That's true. But if you look at my real life interactions, and subtract out interactions that are beyond that of the business sense (ordering food while at a restaurant), I easily go months without talking to a human being in real life.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @05:29PM (#15733893) Homepage Journal
    One thing I've always thought...having 'alone time' is often underrated. I dunno if it is because I was raised and only child..but, I've always been used to having the ability to shut the door, and be alone. I really value alone time. Hell...I've had girlfriends in the past that I really loved, but, after about 3 days of close confinement with them, it was bascially "Hon I love you, but you gotta get the fuck out for a bit..." They are hard to meet, but, there are some chicks out there that feel the same way....those are the best.

    I hate people that are just smother you, wanting to hang on you all the time...but, I guess it just is some people's nature to be one way or the other.

    I've actually never understood people who just HAVE to be around other people...or they get lonely. I've seen it with guys...like they HAVE to be married, or they don't function right...never understood that. I've seen friends come out of bad marriages...and they just cannot seem to have fun being single...going home alone at night at times just seems to really bother them I guess. They'd be single for a bit, and get right back into marriage, often in bad ones again, they were so desperate to not be alone, they'd jump on the first piece of trim they hit and get married.....

    I prefer the single life...because at some point...they or myself...goes HOME.

  • Count me in! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @05:42PM (#15734001) Journal
    I'm a hermit, haven't been out the house in over a year except to the field across the road from me and to the hospital in an ambulance.

    I don't really like people very much, they're noisey and too active for my tastes. I like things quiet and peaceful, if I must talk I'd rather talk with my fingers in a text basis than with vocal words.

    I don't really feel I'm missing out on anything, as a kid I was very social, but then I don't have to deal with the huge bunch of idiots screaming and shouting.

    We live in an era where everyone seems to want to be equal, we forget some people are just quirky and have no intrest in social activites. Some of us don't want to be a pop star, a footballer or whatelse is popular these days. We're happy to sit in the corner, do our own thing and just wish to be left alone unless we approach you.

    I don't think I have a problem, I don't need you going "OH LOL YOU FREAK! YOU NEVER GO OUT!". All I need is for people to understand that they arn't the centre of the world and that people have different feelings and levels of social activity.
  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [vdalived]> on Monday July 17, 2006 @05:45PM (#15734020) Homepage
    Okay, the title "web hermit" brought forth images of a guy 80 lbs over (or under!) weight, hairy beard, and beer cans around his desk top computer doing nothing but surfing.

    Pure FUD. Oohhhhh, feel fear/pity/shame for the weirdo who spends all day at the computer! It's a stigma, as the article says, and it's become more and more acceptable, as the article says. That's because using the web makes sense. Hell if you work from home all day, why not have your groceries delivered? Accepting a delivery takes 10 seconds while going to the store could take an hour. That's one more hour to make money working, or kill farm mephisto in Diablo 2 five more times and hope he drops that's unique you've been looking for, thus achieving a little more happiness than the fool next door who barely understands a computer.

    The whole point of the web is more freedom, independence and opportunity. People are taking advantage of this. No one said everyone online is creating a bomb shelter with a fiber link or that once you surf the web for 4 hours you become Agoraphobic. The article doesn't even have any good facts or figures. Who says you aren't going out to meet people? Who says you aren't socializing with neighbors? Who says you aren't exercising 3 three times a week? The only fact the article states is that more and more people are using the web to get the things they need, and it suddenly jumps to the conclusion that everyone who does this is a "web hermit."

    And most importantly, no one said you aren't bangin' your girlfriend every 4 hours because you work from home and have plenty of time for impromtu sex! Who cares if you found your gf in a bar or two states away playing the same online game as you. If you like her, and she likes you, and you have a healthy sexual compatibility (provided she moves in with you - this is important), then fuck the world. You are most definitely still in the gene pool.
  • by FreakinSyco ( 873416 ) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:30PM (#15734820)
    I had to get up and walk around the room after reading that.

BLISS is ignorance.