In last Tuesday’s post, I introduced the cover story in the current edition of The Atlantic by Stephen Marche entitled, ”Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” (May 2012, pp. 60-69).
In his highly detailed analysis of Facebook’s effects upon us, Marche includes tackling the question from the proverbial chicken or egg stance:
”Does the Internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the Internet?” (p. 66)
Although some would say the Internet makes people lonely, I don’t see it that way. I believe the Internet experience is driven primarily by the user. Marche reports additional supporting research and then shares a key finding:
“Lonely people are inclined to spend more time on Facebook.” (p. 66)
This makes sense. A lonely person tends to look for avenues of human connection wherever they may be found. The Internet provides a constant promise of some type of human contact. Therefore, a lonely person will tend to gravitate to the Internet.
Again we see it isn’t all Facebook’s fault. What we bring to the table, as with anything in life, greatly influences the outcomes. If you are a lonely person, then you will tend to spend more time on Facebook. Nevertheless, Facebook does not have intrinsic power to make you lonely.
That one, my friend, is on you.
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