Speaking as someone who has struggled with a bit of an Internet addiction since 1995, my vote for the saddest place on the Internet goes to the website known as "Second Life". For those who don't know Second Life, it's a place where people go in order to try to create a more fulfilling life than their "First Life." Even in the depths of my Net addiction 4 or 5 years ago, I would have scoffed at the notion of wasting my time and money in such a place.
Second Life reminds me of a classic Saturday Night Live skit from the 1980s which has William Shatner addressing Trekkies at a Star Trek convention. Something sets Captain Kirk off, so that instead of giving another canned talk to the audience, he decides to speak his truth and tell them that they are fools for investing more of their time in a fantasy world than in their real lives. As the audience stands before him in total shock at his outburst, he starts peppering them with questions. He looks at one nerdy, mid-thirtyish man holding two large shopping bags over-flowing with Star Trek memorabilia and asks, "Have you ever kissed a girl?" In response, the Trekkie just looks down at his shoes in utter defeat.
So my question to the denizens of Second Life is, "Have you ever even kissed a girl?" Or boy, as the case may be.
Thankfully for me, the Net has slowly evolved into just another boring appliance. It's now just a bit more entertaining than the clothes washer. The Net's primary benefits for me are email and the elimination of trips to the library.
So what makes for a better life? Well, the short answer is "having a sense of community" in real life. Author Bill McKibben addresses this issue in an NPR interview he did last Friday. Note how Americans experienced their zenith in happiness in 1956. Happiness has been steadily sliding downhill ever since as we withdraw more and more into lives of isolation, where for many virtual discussion forums have become the sole means of socializing.
McKibben offers a valuable piece of advice on becoming instantly happier and adding years to your life: go join a group which provides real life socializing.
Almost any real life group will do: it can be a volunteer organization, a sports or a church club, a fitness club, the local bird watcher's society, etc.
The point is to socialize with your fellow human beings face to face.
Trust me on this one, on your death-bed you don't want to be regretting the fact that you wasted way too much time on the Internet.