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Definition

mouse potato

A mouse potato is the computer equivalent of television's couch potato : someone who tends to spend a great deal of leisure time in front of the computer in much the same way the couch potato does in front of the television. Both activities tend to be accompanied by snacking. A recent survey by the American Snack Food Association found that 85% of Web surfers snack at the computer. It has been observed that this habitual nibbling and relative inactivity can lead to development of a characteristic potato-like body form.

Television networks are concerned about the new phenomenon; they want to keep their potatoes planted on the couch. The Web's main lure - and what television has been lacking - is the capacity for interaction, something that will be increasingly built into television broadcasting with the move to digital television and the cable modem . The convergence of television and the computer could perhaps be viewed as the convergence of the couch potato and the mouse potato.

This was last updated in September 2006
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