The internet: This recession's Great Escape
The study surveyed more than 2,000 individuals in early 2009, and found that three-quarters of online economic users go online to relax or as a diversion, and of this group, 76% also go online to get their financial news, look for coupons or perform other economic-related activities.
As any web user will tell you, the Internet's full of distractions. And for this group the biggest distraction was watching online video. This isn't a surprise given that in past recessions people have flocked to entertainment as an escape, the only difference now is that you can watch TV, movies and YouTube clips as distractions from any Internet connection. Listening to music and playing games were also popular activities pursued by individuals looking for distractions from their finances.
Specifically, the survey found that online users in my age group, 18-29, were "more likely" to seek out relaxation and distraction online than other age groups, which is probably the best I've ever fit into a demographic.
This isn't to say that these individuals detached from the economy; quite the contrary. The survey found that 76% of individuals who go online to relax or as a distraction also go online for economic related activities.
- 46% look for coupons, hopefully not burned by bad coupons.
- 15% sign up for automatic updates on the economy, like WalletPop's RSS feed.
- 13% have shared photo, audio or video files about the economy, think video resumes.