Why Hubpages is So Addictive -- Scientific Proof of Internet Addiction

Money is a powerful addiction.
Money is a powerful addiction. | Source

A recurrent theme in the forums here deals with addiction to Hubpages. People start writing here for a variety of reasons, but before long they can’t stay away, watching their traffic and earnings more and more until they have all the characteristics of an addict. What causes this addictive behavior? Is there any way to prevent or control it? We will discuss these and other serious questions relating to online addictions, writing on Hubpages, and traditional addictions and the associated behaviors.

Behavior that leads to the most powerful addictions comes from unknown sources. A sex addict rarely understands his behavior will lead to a gripping addiction. Only after it is too late does the victim understand how powerful a hold the addictive behavior has. Online writing sites like Hubpages sneak up on unsuspecting victims in similar ways.

Addictive behavior is differentiated from pleasurable actions on several factors, the most notable is control. Breathing and eating are addictive behaviors by some measures, but are not harmful actions. Only an uncontrolled action or activity that is harmful should be considered an addiction. Eating can be an addiction; for most people it is not. Breathing is not an addiction unless you compulsively hyperventilate. A growing addiction, sex, is only an addiction when it is carried out as compulsive masturbation or in uncontrollable sex with multiple partners without protection. Destructive actions that the victim cannot stop performing on their own are classic signs of addictions. “Uncontrollable” and “harmful” are the key words in addiction.

Am I addicted?
Am I addicted? | Source

Pavlov’s Dogs

You may remember from high school or college the story of Ivan Pavlov and experiments he conducted on his dogs. The part of the story that matters to us entails the ringing bell. You remember how the story goes: Pavlov rang a bell and then fed his dogs. He did this for several days. Then he only rang the bell without feeding the dogs. The dogs salivated as if food were in front of them.

The salivating dogs had a conditioned response. A repeated action followed by another action or result creates these conditioned responses. The positive feedback conditions the brain to expect certain pleasures when a stimulus takes place. Sex is a perfect example. An intense pleasure “burns” in the desire for a repeat of the stimulus. Addiction begins when over-stimulus is added. The internet can feed the feedback loop until it becomes an addiction. Sexual pleasure becomes addiction once the action becomes compulsive. Taking unnecessary risks by putting health and family at risk are hallmarks of sexual addiction. Similar patterns exist for cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and other thrill taking activities.

Do you have a Hubpages addiction?

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Would you admit it if you did?

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Do you know someone with an internet addiction?

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How Does Hubpages Become an Addiction?

The pattern for writers on Hubpages takes the same course as other addictions. You write a hub and publish it. The feeds list your newly published hub and a few people on Hubpages stop in to check it out. You see traffic to your hub. There is a rush, an excitement that comes from knowing others have read your work. Now you start checking your traffic multiple times a day. The first cog in the wheel of addiction is set.

Excited by your early results, you apply for Google’s AdSense, Amazon’s and eBay’s affiliate program, and Hubpages ad program. Acceptance cannot come soon enough. Your initial traffic has slowed and you need another fix. You will do anything for more traffic. You even contemplate illegal methods to grow traffic and later, revenue.

The addiction growing by the day, you scan the forums compulsively looking for tips to build your Hubpages presence. When ideas hit, you blast the forums with questions. Totally juiced, you publish another hub; ask others to read it and comment.

Finally, Google comes through and you now have an avenue to make money from your hubs. Hubpages ad program welcomes you with open arms once Google gives the nod. It is at this point where you get your first hit of crack cocaine. It is small, but you make a few pennies from yesterday’s traffic. You might even get a click or Amazon sale. The addiction is set.

Lower traffic now ruins your day and most weekends since traffic is lower then. Traffic means money and anything that stands in the ways sets you off. You check your stats more and more until Hubpages is on your computer’s background non-stop.

The normal pleasure turns into an addiction when the harmful aspects set in. The compulsion to check stats affects your ability to write more hubs, hence, get more traffic. Time with your significant other is curtailed; your children get less time; you spend time on Hubpages at work until your real job is at risk.

What started as a simple pleasure-- writing and maybe a little profit--turns into an uncontrollable addiction. Denial sets in. Your friends, spouse, children, employer and others beg you to step away from the computer. Things you enjoyed in the past take a back seat. You miss movies, family outings, and get-togethers with friends. There is no way out without help. You may switch venues (write on other sites), but you are hooked. You need your fix. You swear off the addiction only to return a few days later, or, if you are lucky, a few weeks.

The Road to Recovery

Whether you write online for a living, for a little extra cash, or only for fun, the specter of addiction always looms. Once you succumb to addiction you are a victim. The first step is to admit you have a problem and ask for help. You can’t do it alone. A Hubpages addiction will have less a hold on you than sexual or drug addictions. But like sex, you can’t walk completely away. Complete sobriety is the best policy for an alcohol addiction. Addictions that require you to partake in the pleasure in appropriate portions are the most difficult to deal with. The challenge is to adjust your life toward appropriate amounts on internet usage.

Writing online provides some money for your family or is your entire income. Living a balanced life, mixed with the internet and online writing will take time and a support group. If the addiction digs too deep you may need therapy to regain your balance. Remember, your family wants to help, but they frequently enable you. Even a small amount of money from your writing quickly becomes welcome extra cash in the family’s budget. Recovering from a Hubpages addiction is similar to avoiding addiction in the first place.

Preventing an Hubpages Addiction

It is better to avoid an addiction rather than recover from one. There are a few simple steps that should help avoid the negative impacts of addictive Hubpages activities.

  1. Check your statistics and revenue once a day only. I know Google updates all day long. There is no reason to check Google all day long. Amazon, eBay, and Hubpages only update earning once per day. Checking 203 times a day will not change that fact.
  2. Set aside time to write. Treat your writing like a job or a hobby, whichever it is for you. Limit your forums activities. Read hubs and research within a reasonable time framework you set up that doesn’t interfere with your personal life. For forums I have a rule, if you make the top 10 most active list on the right side of the screen when in the forums, you are posting too much. You should either be writing more, or living life more.
  3. Take a break. Every job provides for vacations or time off. Take two weeks off per year, weekends, and holidays. Or more.
  4. Never sacrifice your health, friends, or family. Family comes first, period, along with your health. You should never make a habit of working or playing on Hubpages to the detriment of quality time with your kids, spouse, parents, or friends.

When Hubpages or any other online activity becomes an improvement to your life, it is a happy balance. Never forget you live in the real world. Meet new people, take vacations, tell jokes, learn to laugh and just plain live life.


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Comments 22 comments

ryanjhoe profile image

ryanjhoe 3 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

I can learn many things on HubPages such as SEO technique, how to write good articles, etc beside try to get some earnings. So, I think there are many benefits by joining HubPages. And yes! Hubpages has several interesting features that addictive to some of us! :)


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Not all addiction is bad, stanwshura. Your point is salient. Balance is the key. When an addiction becomes harmful is when change is necessary.


stanwshura profile image

stanwshura 4 years ago

I don't know -where some of the behaviors/patterns you describe sound like honed, sophisticated, and maximally productive practice. Was Coltrane addicted to practicing, and ever more so to scales and their various forms? Was Curt Shilling addicted to pitching (or perfection or finishing the inning despite his increasingly saturated, blood-soaked sock?

Your point is well-taken, though - a lot of behaviors and (other) indulgences can become bona fide, clinically diagnosable addictions. I had a friend in college (who is quite together these days wrt work, family, balance, and yeah, normal internet use) who got to the point where she would skip exams to "M.U.D." -and a role-


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Addicts come in all shapes and sizes. Humans are addictive by nature, MsDora. Knowledge is a powerful tool toward moderation.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean

Very relevant, and very well presented. Thanks for the advice on behalf of all addicts and those who do not yet know that they are addicts. Voted useful.


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

I love how people explain their addictive reactions while saying they are not addicted. The first step toward a cure is to admit you have a problem, tillsontitan. ;-)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

"Online writing sites like Hubpages sneak up on unsuspecting victims in similar ways." I think that line sums up a lot of thought and action on the part of hub page writers. I'm not addicted to the point of oblivion to the rest of the world and my family but I am addicted. If, for some reason I can't check my hub pages for a whole day I get sweaty palms :) Seriously I can understand how people can go overboard and really become addicted. Good hub with great supporting videos. Voted up and interesting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I must admit I do get annoyed when someone wants me to go out or something like that, so at the moment I can only get on here in between those times, but I know I feel the pull when I am away from here! lol! oh well, yes I will stand up and say, I am addicted!


techygran profile image

techygran 4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

very interesting hub and a great wake up call for moi and many others out there (it would seem) who spend inordinate amounts of their waking hours wasting their lives... voted up.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece

I can understand how writing on HP can become addictive, especially if you are on your own and maybe have a little more time to spare. You can't help but feel good when you've worked hard on a hub and people acknowledge it. It is nice to appreciate other peoples hard work and hopefully they will appreciate yours too. As you pointed out, you must stay in control and set yourself limits.

A good hub offering some sound advice that I think should be shared. Thank you....


Cre8tor profile image

Cre8tor 4 years ago from Ohio

You've certainly promoted thought with this hub. I feel I may have some signs but much of it has to do with being new and trying to learn so much so fast. Once the learning curve has past, I think I'll be okay but this will surely have me watching myself in the future. Thanks for the advice. Cre8tor.


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

KeithTax,

I found you out on the forums and appreciate you sharing. I struggle with my HP addiction and have set daily standards. Oh, I could sit here all day long. I found myself looking at stats moment by moment - how stupid! So I did cut back knowing full way it was simply crazy.

The video realm is my next adventure. I am working my way up to that next chapter.

The community in YouTube is so different from HP. I wish the standards of HP were the same on YouTube and Twitter but alas the demographics are different. This may change as the babyboomers migrate to the smartphones.


Ian Dabasori Hetr profile image

Ian Dabasori Hetr 4 years ago from Papua New Guinea

I am sure I have been spending 7 weeks glued to hubpages. I am afraid to believe I am addicted to hubpages. I have to follow you and read more hubs in this nature. this is a great and useful hub. voted up.


KrystalD profile image

KrystalD 4 years ago from Los Angeles

I really took this in a light way. I see now you are very serious. Addiction is a very serious issue and I never thought about in terms of the internet. I have always found myself able to eb in flow with serious use than cold turkey as my life style changes.

I agree that people who find themselves neglecting their family, friends, career or general life should seek help. Thank you for sharing.

It feels strange imaging internet having that effect on people but I know it must be happening somewhere.


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

@rambansal: What many describe in the forums sounds like classic addiction. Internet addiction IS real, many people suffer from it, and Hubpages is part of the addiction for some.

@Poetvix: Thanks for the comment. Keep finding your balance.

@KrystalD: The wording may sound funny, but it is true. You can give up all alcohol; it is near impossible to give up all internet usage in today's world. A good way to see if you have some level of addiction: walk away from all internet usage fro two weeks. That includes smart phones. No excuses. If you can't make it or break out in a cold sweat, consider getting professional help to regain balance in your online life.


KrystalD profile image

KrystalD 4 years ago from Los Angeles

My favorite line: "A Hubpages addiction will have less a hold on you than sexual or drug addictions. But like sex, you can’t walk completely away." Ha! I agree with your tips and most of all found your writing just delightful to read. Thanks for sharing!


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

I have often said, as a joke, that I was addicted to Hubpages. It's kind of scary to think people really do get addicted. I found this to be highly useful and really like how you included tips to help people find a balance.


rambansal profile image

rambansal 4 years ago from India

Addiction is an exaggerated word for writing on hubpages. It is just a continued interests cultivated by regular feedbacks by the site in terms of visitors, ratings and earnings.

Addiction is when you are bound by a dictum psychologically and is objectionable for harmful effects. Hubpages feedback causes no harm to the authors but keeps their interests alive to perform better than before.


mobileCell profile image

mobileCell 4 years ago

good Work.... keep it UP!


KeithTax profile image

KeithTax 4 years ago from Wisconsin Author

Thanks for the comments Brandon and Lisa.

Lisa, withdrawal symptoms are also a sign of addiction. But don't let me judge, addiction can be good. Right? The truth is somewhere in the middle. The internet is an addicting activity. If you keep it in perspective, you are fine. Getting upset over an outage is no more a sign of addiction than getting mad when a light turns red means you are addicted to driving. My goal here was to get people to think about their time spent online compared to life in the real world. Everything in moderation. Balance.


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Here's a long comment (so I won't be offended if you don't post it), but I thought it make for some discussion:

I'm not addicted to HP (HONEST!! LOL) But, I've often kind of wondered about the fact that I do get "uncomfortably uncomfortable" when there's a power failure or a bad router that means I can't be on the Internet. So, I've wondered if I have signs of being an Internet addict. I don't really think I do - but I've eliminated that discomfort at not having access to it by making sure I have my Blackberry, Kindle, and mini-laptop. :/ Still, my offline life definitely comes first. I'll go most of the weekend with only brief stints online mornings or late nights.

Here's where I get "questionable" with HP, though: I leave a window up while I'm working, and this is where I kill time when I have some extra time because I have nothing all that much better to do anyway. I may only devote a couple/few solid hours every week/ten days to HP; but I'm always popping on and off to see if there's anything new. It's not my earnings or traffic. I'm always looking for any interesting things that may show up at any time. If nothing has shown up that's when I go to look at traffic. If I'm still looking for something to do I'll then go to questions to see if "any good ones" showed up. So, for me, it's not the "allure" of traffic and earnings. It's more the allure of seeing something new.

I could go look on other sites for other things, but it's easy (and lazy) to just keep looking for new stuff on here. Part of that is because I kind of hate the Internet in general (LOL). Part of it is because looking for some stupid-but-new little thing on here does give me some kind of "fix" (since I'm either bored or else in need of getting away from whatever it is I'm working on). I mean... From one half hour/hour (even two/three hours) and the next, a lot of nothing-new tends to go on on here. Why I don't just go find something interesting in the whole other Internet world, I don't really know. I suppose it has to do with the fact that I'm mildly gregarious and not entirely satisfied to be working from home and not having any activity going on around me.

I suppose I'm more addicted to looking for "some new little activity" than either the Internet or HP (but it has to be easy enough for me to pursue without taking away from my offline work or life). If I weren't on this site I'd do the same somewhere else, but I'm a one-site kind of person because (as I said) I get aggravated by the Internet in general. So for me, I found the least objectionable Internet site (and one I do enjoy a good part of the time) and found it's what I use to break up workday (or between-projects) monotony. :/ Still, there's definitely some somewhat compulsive aspect to that popping back on here and looking for some new thing. :/ Then again, I'm a multi-tasker by nature - so I don't know.. I really can't imagine sitting in one place at one computer without EVER trying to break things up a little bit. :/


Brandon Spaulding profile image

Brandon Spaulding 4 years ago from Yahoo, Contributor

I agree HubPages can be very additive. I think this is true for a variety of reasons. The promise of potential earnings for people writing about what they enjoy is among the highest.

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