Has social media innovated loneliness?

Thank you for the kind feedback (especially for people who’ve been telling me they like the Infographic). My posts don’t suffer from loneliness now! And for people who pointed out my loosely defined social media (Facebook) photo profile changing activity as not being a Gaussian curve since that can never be over time but frequency, I was only taking my social media inspired poetic license over the shape of the curve that I got reminded of- so yes, please don’t take it as a mathematician’s note and thanks for pointing it out! 🙂

Has Social Media Innovated Loneliness

One of my lovely friends sent me a nice video about social media sharing and loneliness. I’ve been thinking about it a while, especially when I were hibernating.

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

It’s an interesting video and inspired from the book ‘Alone together’ by Sherry Turkle. However as scandalous (or real) as the messages may sound and urge us to believe in them, I feel largely critical about its accuracy. I think the key point that put me off (at least in the video- I haven’t read the book) is this- one of the possible reasons for this ailment (loneliness) is social media. First it is an opinion not a fact. And then it doesn’t sound right. And frankly without sufficient explanations, it sounds naïve like my boss who once asked me if I didn’t have real friends since I were on every social media network that he was avoiding.

Social Media or any technology ideally addresses a need. Some latent, some more visible. Some technologies are just so innovative that they blow our minds, and we never knew we could even have needs like those. Loneliness and dis-connectivity from the real world or a need for greater connectivity and fame could have been some possible triggers of a social media platform. And consistent usage has altered the way we use these networks and behave to create further new innovations in this segment. The growth has largely been organic and user-driven over the last decade.

However, social media networks were and do remain ‘communication tools’ that we use. Like the telephone or letters or telegrams. I’ve come to believe we often make technology sound far greater than it is. The power that social media technology has is through us, and we still control it the other way around. Singlehandedly, I don’t see how blaming a social media network or technology platform addresses the problems that may arise from how people use it. But it’s become fashionable somehow to do that. And I’m not even getting started on the benefits these communication tools provide to arrest loneliness, let alone innovate/ cause it. 

The Internet didn’t kill the DVD industry. Streaming and illegal downloading did. And those are two different things.

I’d love to hear your comments! 

16 comments
  1. It is funny for me. As nerdy person from the early years, who pretty much grow up in front of his computer. To see how people who where joking about my lifestyle, now self living it. The biggest joke, meanwhile many more like I do. Well done Zuckerberg and Jobs, instead try to go mainstream, you made our life mainstream.

  2. While I do not agree with everything that was indicated in the video, I do think there were a few valid points. We can always argue between tools and intent. While the invention of the gun as a weapon cause humans to be psychologically unstable but certainly fascinated their intent on harming other quite easily. Social media of any kind hasn’t invented loneliness but has given some an outlet to foster it. In fact, at times, even cloak it.

    I get your point though. All tools need defending. Even if it were a smoking gun.

  3. Things evolve. It is not about killing a technology in today’s world. It’s about what is faster and more economically feasible.

    Social Media vary in type and form. I believe Facebook is more waste of time compared to Twitter for example. Its always relative. You can only map so much of the real world in binary 🙂

  4. Things evolve. It is not about killing a technology in today’s world. It’s about what is faster and more economically feasible.

    Social Media vary in type and form. I believe Facebook is more waste of time compared to Twitter for example. Its always relative. You can only map so much of the real world in binary 🙂

  5. Well I am not sure I quite agree with this video or its contents (its graphics on the other hand, I love! lame as it may sound).
    From a personal pov I do not think social media has badly affected how I converse with people offline. Of course, there may be data which shows how people get addicted to online way of things. And that might shape the next generation in a weird way. But that’s what technology is all about. Choices? My parents did not have tv while growing up, but I did. I chose a life without much tv when I started living on my own.
    Plus I think humans are inherently lonely. On a philosophical note, we try to create/live experiences which take that loneliness away.

  6. you comment “I don’t see how blaming a social media network or technology platform addresses the problems that may arise from how people use it”

    I coudnt agree more… when people tel me about how Fb is waste of time… I tell them but oh there are hundred ways I have used it judiciously to save time!!… just like the TV which was said to be such a bad influence on us..social media is the nest target…but I say, Its we who are using it defines how we use it to our benefit!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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