Are we Wilfing our lives away?
By Stevie Smith Apr 11, 2007, 15:14 GMT
Welcome to the bewilderingly addictive and mindlessly banal practice of Wilfing (What Was I Looking For?), which is apparently running rampant though British online culture as our eyes glaze over and we literally surf away massive chunks of our existence without a clearly defined purpose.
More pointedly, a research survey recently carried out by YouGov has revealed that seven out of every ten of the UK’s 34 million online users falls foul of Wilfing, whether they be in the comfort of their own homes or absent-mindedly abusing the office clock. According to the survey, a quarter of us allow some 33% of our Internet time to be focussed aimlessly on merely wandering about in cyberspace with no direction, which amounts to around one day in every fourteen being entirely thrown away on largely pointless browsing.
Commissioned by price comparison Web site Moneysupermarket.com, the intriguing YouGov survey covered 2,400 Internet users and duly revealed that those most guilty of Wilfing often find themselves trawling through consumer-friendly shopping sites.
However, despite the predominantly ‘shopping Wilfer’ label, the survey points out that men are much more likely to succumb to the temptation of Wilfing than women. And of those surveyed, more than 30 percent of the polled men admitted that Wilfing had inflicted damage on their relationships, while 20 percent confessed to wandering toward adult-oriented Web sites when they should have been working or studying. In terms of the influence of user age, Internet surfers aged below 25 were three times more likely to buckle under the temptation of Wilfing than those aged over 55.
Jason Lloyd, head of broadband for Moneysupermarket .com, commented that the improved ease of use now associated with popular Web browsing has, in turn, led to users becoming much more easily led astray from whatever it was they were supposed to be doing.
“Our study shows that although people log on with a purpose, they are now being offered so much choice and online distraction that many forget what they are there for, and spend hours aimlessly Wilfing instead,” said Lloyd.
Other work-specific surveys related to the spread of Internet distraction have already uncovered that more than 30 percent of workers waste in excess of an hour each day on personal Web mail as the office clock ticks on by.
Other related stats include that as many as 10 million Internet users in China are officially ‘addicted’ to the Net, with the government having actually prohibited users below the age of 18 from entering Internet cafes. Back in the UK there is a somewhat worrying increase in users ‘addicted’ to online auction Web site eBay.