Learning and fun top the list.

If idle hands are the devil’s workshop, the Internet is a pretty hot place.

According to Ruder Finn, 100% of US Internet users surveyed in Q2 2009 went online to pass the time.

Reasons that US Internet Users Go Online, Q2 2009 (% of respondents)

Other popular reasons were education, connecting with others, researching and sharing.

The least common intentions when logging on were to make purchases, manage finances, comparison shop and join causes.

“Intent is the new demographic,” said Kathy Bloomgarden, Ruder Finn co-CEO. “Delving deeper into the underlying motivations of online behavior is critical to developing proactive strategies.”

Overall, Ruder Finn divided online activities into six categories, listed from most common to least:

  • Learn
  • Have fun
  • Socialize
  • Express oneself
  • Advocate
  • Do business
  • Shop

Men were more likely than women to go online for business, entertainment and to keep informed on news and current events.

Women, in turn, were more likely to use the Internet to advocate for a cause or issue, express themselves and socialize.

More than two-thirds (69%) of young adults ages 18 to 29 posted comments on social networking sites, 55% played games and 50% went online “specifically to rage against a person or organization.”

Seniors were nearly twice as likely as young people to manage their finances, and 65% of seniors went online to be part of a community.