More than 137 million Americans spend at least part of their day online. This is hardly surprising. What is notable, however, is that when the Internet is unavailable, many suffer withdrawal much as they would if they had to go without coffee or cigarettes. They have come to rely on the Web to manage increasingly hectic personal lives, and can not imagine life without it.
Yahoo!, Inc. and OMD, the world's leading media agency, conducted an Internet Deprivation Study that explored the media habits and the emotional connection of Internet users. All participants in the qualitative portion of the study found living without the Internet more difficult than they expected, and in some cases impossible. The tools and services the Internet offers, such as booking travel, checking sports scores, communicating with friends and family and paying bills, have become entrenched in our daily lives. Online retail shopping malls are signposts in this online community.
The Internet has created a vast online community that has, in some cases, replaced the nuclear and extended family as a source of validation and conscience. Advertisers who utilize this knowledge and become part of the cultural landscape now will have an advantage in the future as this community spreads. As ubiquitous as radio and television advertising, the Internet has clearly taken root in our daily lives and become part of our culture.