While the term on-line (also commonly spelled "online") was originally used to describe the state of being connected to the Internet, it has developed into a means of describing a myriad of activities. When you are surfing or in a chat-room, you are on-line. People are also on-line when they are conducting an e-commerce transaction, doing a little on-line banking, or more and more often, reading the latest celebrity gossip.
Closely associated with the term "wired," the word on-line is continuously evolving. Additionally, more and more activities traditionally handled in print are now on-line. As the word associations for being on-line progress, we see people getting their news, movies and even watching television on-line.
Because being on-line offers an anonymous environment, users sometimes face dangers from predators, fraud, and spying. Being on-line has also raised a host of privacy issues because personal information is exposed and made public by posting it electronically. Information is gathered on people while they are on-line with or without their knowledge.
There is little doubt we will see the term on-line used to describe more activities as technology and use of the Internet grows.