Online activity as a job-satisfaction indicator? Nah.

In his post on the The Awesome Power of Spare Cycles, Chris Anderson writes:

Web 2.0 is such a phenomena because we’re underused elsewhere. Bored at work, bored at home. We’ve got spare cycles and they’re finally finding an outlet. Tap that and you’ve tapped an energy source that rivals anything in human history.

[…]

Spare cycles are the most powerful fuel on the planet. It’s what Web 2.0 is made up of. User generated content? Spare cycles. Open source? Spare cycles. MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Second Life? Spare cycles.

If Anderson is right, then we could measure how bored or not we are at our jobs (and/or at home, too) by measuring our online activity.

The thing is, Anderson is wrong.

Anderson is equating up activities for which the motivators are very different. Open source is not powered by “bored” programmers that don’t know what to do with their spare time, but by passionate contributors that very often make an effort to find time in their lives for open source. Same holds for the most devoted Flickr users, the most constant bloggers and the most popular YouTube creators.

Yes, the bored office worker that aimlessly browses YouTube or MySpace is indeed just burning spare cycles, but the pointless browsing/digging/etc is not the force that drives these communities.