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Facebook and Twitter make people lonelier.

4:37 PM Apr 12 2012

Stashed in: Interconnectedness!, Twitter!, Relationships, @caterina, Social Media, Reflection, FB

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My favorite gloss from this article:

In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less actual society.

We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.

It really brings to question who our "real friends" are:

When you sign up for Google+ and set up your Friends circle, the program specifies that you should include only “your real friends, the ones you feel comfortable sharing private details with.” That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.

Everybody else looks so happy on Facebook, with so many friends, that our own social networks feel emptier than ever in comparison. And Twitter?

Researchers at the HP Social Computing Lab who studied the nature of people’s connections on Twitter came to a depressing, if not surprising, conclusion: “Most of the links declared within Twitter were meaningless from an interaction point of view.” I have to wonder: What other point of view is meaningful?

There's a startling conclusion that @bakadesuyo might take issue with:

Valuing happiness is not necessarily linked to greater happiness. In fact, under certain conditions, the opposite is true. Under conditions of low (but not high) life stress, the more people valued happiness, the lower were their hedonic balance, psychological well-being, and life satisfaction, and the higher their depression symptoms.

The more you try to be happy, the less happy you are. Sophocles made the same point.

The key to happiness? Get off the grid:

What Facebook has revealed about human nature -- and this is not a minor revelation -- is that a connection is not the same thing as a bond, and that instant and total connection is no salvation, no ticket to a happier, better world or a more liberated version of humanity.

Solitude used to be good for self-reflection and self-reinvention. But now we are left thinking about who we are all the time, without ever really thinking about who we are. Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect.

Tune out. Turn off. Check out.

I agree, there is certainly a correlation here. Are we sure though that it's not the other way around? In other words, how do we know that lonely people, because they are lonely, will be more likely to use social networks to try to help them be less lonely?

If that's the case then a lot of people in the world start off lonely...

All I know is, social media isn't helping. The sugar rush of a LIKE goes away.

Deeper relationships are hard. They take time. Relationships are progressions.

Mathew Ingram: YES.