This is from a blog.
Five Emotions Invented By The Internet
by Leigh Alexander
January 12, 2011
thought catalogExcerpt:A vague and gnawing pang of anxiety centered around an IM window that has lulled.
During this time an individual feels unsure whether they have offended the IM recipient, committed a breach of IM etiquette, or have otherwise spoilt the presentation of themselves carefully crafted thus far thanks to the miracles of the textual medium. The individual must be at least vaguely aware that they are being vaguely paranoid, and must tell themselves things like ‘he probably just stepped away from the keyboard’ or ‘I know she is at work right now so perhaps she has stopped replying because she is busy.’
This sentiment of anxiety must surface only after an extremely brief lapse in the pace of the conversation [range of ~30 seconds to 1 minute], and the individual must tell themselves things like ‘it has only been like a minute, don’t worry.’ The individual may mull a mental history of their prior IM conversations with the subject and with others in an attempt to gauge whether the lull is ‘normal’, or to extrapolate what the lull might indicate about the subject’s sentiment toward them. The individual may experience elevated heart rate and depersonalization, and while staring at the screen with an unfocused expression, have catastrophic thoughts about their romantic history, their ability to be liked by others in the future or their key flaws.
A sudden and irrational rage in response to reading an ‘@-reply’ on Twitter.
The reply is not especially insulting and might be simply a little bit facile, or flippant, or even overly friendly. It is essential that the substance of the ‘trigger’ is not actually upsetting or offensive in any comprehensible way; for example, a total stranger with a particularly goofy Twitter ‘avatar’ might tweet at an individual ‘hope you are staying safe in the snow, [name!] ’ in a totally reasonable and friendly fashion and the recipient instead experiences a sudden flash of negative sentiment like ‘who is this person and what makes someone randomly wish for the safety of a stranger, they are probably a loser, I am offended by the attention of this obsequious weirdo.’
Or the individual might Tweet seeking recommendations for what to watch on Hulu and receive a reply that says ‘have you seen [x]’ where ‘x’ is something completely obvious that everyone has seen, and the individual experiences the strong urge to reply with something virulent or to tweet ‘WHY ARE IDIOTS FOLLOWING ME WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE.’ Throughout the immediate rush of irrational hair-trigger irritation the individual is vaguely aware that their reaction is completely inappropriate for the situation of being addressed in a less than desirable way by strangers on the internet. In advanced cases the person tweets something stark or vicious about the state of society or about the internet and deletes it ~15-30 seconds later after realizing it is exceptionally unwarranted.
The state of being ‘installed’ at a computer or laptop for an extended period of time without purpose, characterized by a blurry, formless anxiety undercut with something hard like desperation.
During this time the individual will have several windows open, generally several browser ‘tabs,’ a Microsoft Word document in some state of incompletion, the individual’s own Facebook page as well as that of another randomly-selected individual who may or may not be on the ‘friends’ list, 2-5 Gchat conversations that are no longer immediately active, possibly iTunes and a ‘client’ for Twitter. The individual will switch between the open applications/tabs in a fashion that appears organized but is functionally aimless, will return to reading some kind of ‘blog post’ in one browser tab and become distracted at the third paragraph for the third time before switching to the Gmail inbox and refreshing it again.
The behavior equates to mindlessly refreshing and ‘lozenging’ the same sources of information repeatedly. While performing this behavior the individual feels a sense of numb depersonalization, being calmly and pragmatically aware that they have no identifiable need to be at the computer nor are they gleaning any practical use from it at that moment, and the individual may feel vaguely uncomfortable or ashamed about this awareness in concert with the fact that they continue to perform the idle ‘refreshing’ behavior. They may feel increasingly anxious and needful, similar to the sensation of having an itch that needs scratching or a thirst that needs quenching, all while feeling as though they are calm or slightly bored.