Is the information superhighway different on rural route nine?
There are about fifteen or twenty websites that I visit every day. Some of these are the same websites that everyone visits everyday: http://www.google.com, http://www.nytimes.com, that kind of thing. Others are websites that some less-than-everyone-but-yet-substantial set of people of which I am a member visit every day: sites on the intranet at work, linguistics and cognitive science blogs, online magazines like http://www.slate.com or http://www.salon.com, food sites such as http://forums.egullet.com. But there's also a pretty sizable set of sites that I visit that aren't of general interest in the same way: personal blogs or webpages maintained by friends, mainly. These are both among the most interesting to me and most religiously visited and yet the least useful, strictly speaking. Sites like this I visit just because it's entertaining to do so.
If I extend the circle to include sites that I visit on a weekly rather than on a daily or near-daily basis, then I end up with music sites like http://www.threeimaginarygirls.com or http://www.kexp.org, running sites like http://www.nwrunner.com or http://www.runnersworld.com, and occasional book review or personal websites of authors that I like.
At least once I week I google someone other than myself, for work or curiosity. Every day I google language phenomena or paper references for work.
When I put all this together, what I end up with is a web browsing pattern that's about two thirds work and one third not, with the percentage of fluffy personal interest sites slightly higher when browsing patterns are considered on a weekly rather than a daily basis. I'm not counting email at all, which at this point is 90% work for me.
I'm wondering what these patterns look like for other people. If you're reading this, then you're doing at least some amount of fluffy frivolous browsing. But I wonder if your internet use is more work or play. I wonder what the cultural variance is in this, or how other demographic factors come into play: age, sex, location, socioeconomics, native language. I think it's a non-trivial problem.