Do You Suffer From Discomgoogolation?

There is little doubt that Internet access for many of us has transmogrified from the realm of useful tool to downright obsession. In fact, about a month ago we reported on a study that showed that 46 percent of U.S. e-mail users claim to be addicted to e-mail. Now a new study coming out of the U.K. gives a name to the malady we suffer when we can't get our fix of Internet access: "Discomgoogolation."

The term "discomgoogolation" is a combination of the word "discombobulate" and "Google." (As a completely unrelated thought, why isn't "combobulate" a real word?) British Psychologists created the word "discomgoogolation" to mean a "feeling of distress or anxiety when unable to gain immediate information access." The term was created following a study of 2,100 British citizens where the "stress levels of participants in the study [were]measured with heart and brain monitors." The study found that "over three quarters of Britons (76 per cent) admit that they cannot live without the internet as they spend ever more time emailing, playing online games and viewing porn."

This is practically an exponentially higher number than the five to ten percent of online users who were said to be addicted as was previously reported by British psychiatrists, according to the Daily Mail. Did previous studies get it wrong; or have things changed so drastically in so short a span of time? Another oddity is that a U.K. government agency recently declared that only 65 percent of U.K. households even have Internet access. Which would mean that more people claim they cannot live without the Internet than even have Internet access at home. They must be getting their Internet fix at work, Internet cafes, at friends' homes, or from their mobile devices. Call us cynical, but we find the 76 percent claim to be highly suspect.

But, heck, we just report the news; we don't make it; so on with the story...

The study also made the following findings:

  • 87 percent claimed to "rely on the internet as their main source of information"
  • 53 percent access the Internet "up to four hours a day"
  • 47 percent "believed the internet was more important in people's lives than religion"
  • 44 percent "said they feel frustrated and confused when cut off" from the Internet
  • 27 percent admitted to "rising stress levels when they are unable to go online"
  • 26 percent "said they would be at a loss where to look without it"
  • 19 percent spend "more time on the net than with their family in an average week"
  • Friday is "the most stressful day to be disconnected because it prevents people planning their weekends using the search engine Google."

"Discomgoogolation" refers to the 44 percent who got "frustrated and confused" when they didn't have Internet access. When these Internet users were unable to get access, "the stress of being disconnected was equivalent to that of running half an hour late for a key meeting, being about to sit an important exam or, in the worst cases, being sacked."

You can draw your own conclusions as to how accurate this data is. While there is surely a kernel of truth to it, our conjecture is that these numbers are at least somewhat exaggerated. The takeaway for us is twofold. One: There is surely an increasing dependence on the Internet for many, which is probably an addiction for some people. Two: We now have a new socio-technical word to add our growing lexicon. We would also like to take this opportunity to proffer our own new term to the socio-technical lexicon for Internet addition: "Cantgetenoughofthisinternetthingitus."

Additional information for this news post culled from
Tags:  ATI, Disc, rom, GOOG, COM