“We are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible.” This is the paradox of the hyper connected world we are living today. “Social media have made us more densely networked than ever. Yet for all this connectivity we have never been lonelier.”
On a thought-provoking eye-opening article on The Atlantic, Stephen Marche lays down the dense body of research that have been exploring the effect of social networks on our psych.
Yet within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation. We have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier. In a world consumed by ever more novel modes of socializing, we have less and 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.
On the same note, Sherry Turkle tackles how we’re increasingly “expecting more from technology and less from each other”. We are substituting conversations by mere connections.
We’re designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. We turn to technology to help us feel connected in ways we can comfortably control.
…We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together. People want to be with each other, but also elsewhere — connected to all the different places they want to be. People want to customize their lives. They want to go in and out of all the places they are because the thing that matters most to them is control over where they put their attention.
But as Marche underlines, “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”. We need to work on our relationship with 2.0 technologies in a way that it won’t severe our real life relationships but rather enrich them. It’s doable, we just need to be more conscious about it!
On a final note, Tiffany ShlainRun beautifully makes the case of how technologies are not only changing what we do, but changing us as well.