Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Facebook, A very controversial subject at the time wouldn’t you say? Many people argue that it is making us.. lonely, and that your “online” friends are replacing your real ones… There’s a lot of good information about the psychology of loneliness in the piece, but while author Stephen Marche isn’t quite so unequivocal in his conclusion, the article safely answers the question posed by its title: No, Facebook isn’t making us lonely. My suggested title for the piece would be “Loneliness in the Age of Facebook” but that’s just me. I want to quote from the piece and offer some comments, but first, here’s my attempt at a distillation of relevant points, specific to the question of whether Facebook makes us lonely. Again, there’s a ton of rich detail on the topic of loneliness in general. I’m skipping that here but encourage you to read the article. * Loneliness is on the rise and has been for at least a decade, despite the adoption of social networking. * That “brings us to a more fundamental question: Does the Internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the Internet?” To which the experts interviewed pretty much all answer the latter. * Face to face interactions predict levels of loneliness; the more of them a person reports relative to online interactions, the less lonely they are likely to be. Facebook doesn’t make you lonely; lonely people are more attracted to the internet As I said, the experts interviewed pretty clearly agree that Facebook doesn’t make you lonely as much as attract and reflect loneliness. Here are some quotes from the article: Moira Burke, until recently a graduate student at the Human-Computer Institute at Carnegie Mellon, used to run a longitudinal study of 1,200 Facebook users. That study, which is ongoing, is one of the first to step outside the realm of self-selected college students and examine the effects of Facebook on a...