The article makes a similar point via Google+: "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."
|Is this what Facebook is doing to us?|
I found this to be a very compelling point. My first reaction was one of agreement, with the exception being that to me, facebook is a tool that provides an opportunity to stay in touch with friends and family many states away. However, when I thought about it more, the times that I'm on Facebook for extended periods of time are when I'm by myself and am bored. Plus, my interactions with friends and family, with minimal exceptions, are quite trivial. That's not to say they aren't enjoyable, they are just comfortable and easy and don't really delve into anything personal.
An interesting study that is apparently on-going, yielded these remarks:
"She [Burke] concludes that the effect of Facebook depends on what you bring to it. Just as your mother said: you get out only what you put in. If you use Facebook to communicate directly with other individuals—by using the “like” button, commenting on friends’ posts, and so on—it can increase your social capital. Personalized messages, or what Burke calls “composed communication,” are more satisfying than “one-click communication”—the lazy click of a like.
On the other hand, non-personalized use of Facebook—scanning your friends’ status updates and updating the world on your own activities via your wall, or what Burke calls “passive consumption” and “broadcasting”—correlates to feelings of disconnectedness. It’s a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear. "
Another interesting quote from the article: "Does the Internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the Internet?" was also very interesting. It takes a step back from just looking at Facebook and instead questions the internet's overall effect on us.
Towards the end the author states: "LONELINESS IS CERTAINLY not something that Facebook or Twitter or any of the lesser forms of social media is doing to us. We are doing it to ourselves."
I've given a few quotes from the piece (it's long but a worthwhile read - though I admit that towards the end I started skimming a bit), but my question is: What do you think?
Does the internet make us lonely? Does Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Message Boards? Is this our doing? Are things improving? Getting worse?