Ersatz social engagement theory (Green & Brock, 1998, 2003) suggests that individuals may be drawn to mediated interactions because of their ease, lack of risk, and immediate gratification, but that these interactions may be less rewarding over the long term. In Study 1 (N= 42), participants’ moods were measured before and after engaging in a conversation with a stranger either online (instant messenger) or face to face. Participants became slightly less tense and less angry regardless of which condition they were in, but significantly happier when they were in the instant messenger (1M) condition. The increased happiness after an IM rather than face-to-face conversation was especially pronounced among women. Study 2 (N= 101) was a survey of students’ Internet use and other extracurricular activities. Students did not appear to be substituting Internet use for other forms of extracurricular engagement. However, IM use was associated with feeling that one used the Internet too much, and reduced life satisfaction.