In yesterday’s post, I introduced the cover story on the current edition of The Atlantic by Stephen Marche entitled, “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” (May 2012, pp. 60-69).
Facebook must own up to what it is responsible for, but we must own up to what we are responsible for too. Is Facebook genuinely making us lonely? Well, it might depend on your perspective.
Marche makes several important distinctions between being alone and loneliness:
”We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state.” (p. 62)
Bravo to Marche on this point!
When you are content with yourself, a Web site cannot intrude on that peace. If I am lonely, it is not because Facebook makes me feel lonely. For the real reason, I must look within myself.
Facebook, like any business, like any Web site, has the freedom to be successful. The individual makes decisions about how Facebook will affect his or her life. That is something for which we are accountable, and no one else.
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