Through the ever growing use of technology, many people claim that people are becoming more and more lonely and isolated. Sometimes it may seem as the world gets more connected with technology, we become disconnected from the real world. Others argue;however, that the increasing advancements in technologies have connected people more now than ever before, and the belief that we live in a disconnected world is simply a myth. The articles “Facebook Isn’t Making Us Lonely” by Eric Klinenberg and “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” by Stephen Marche compare and contrast these two views on whether Facebook is making us lonely, or whether Facebook is making us more connected than ever.
The article “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” by Stephen Marche argues that Facebook and other technologies are making people feel increasingly isolated and more lonely than ever before. Marche argues that the more connected we become through technology, the more isolated we become. Marche claims that a major study found that almost 60 million American adults are unhappy with their lives due to loneliness. People have been seeing a dramatic decrease in social confidants, which makes us feel more isolated. This isolation then leads to severe loneliness, which can cause harmful side effects to one’s health. Americans have a long history of self-determination and isolation–from the Pilgrims who left Europe, cowboys exploring the frontier, to people choosing to live on their own today. Facebook was created to potentially combat this loneliness that we have created for ourselves, but Marche argues that it is Facebook that is making us even lonelier because people are seeing posts about how great everyone else’s lives are, which in turn makes the person feel worse about their own life. In addition, Facebook allows users to present themselves anyway they please, usually only showing the world their happiest selves, whether it is fake or not. This constant need to always be presenting oneself as something that they are not also leads to more feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. Marche argues that Facebook, overall, is making people feel more isolated, which in turn leads to feelings of anxiety, unhappiness, and depression.
In the article “Facebook Isn’t Making Us Lonely” by Eric Klinenberg, Klinenberg argues that there is no solid evidence that people are any more lonely now than they have been in recent decades. Klinenberg then goes on to pick apart many of Marche’s arguments, claiming that his studies and statistics do not adequately back up his thesis. There have been many studies that show that relationships in today’s society are relatively the same as they were before the Internet came into existence. When discussing how the telephone isolated people, Marche describes, “When the telephone arrived, people stopped knocking on their neighbors’ doors” (Marche). Klinenberg interviewed a Berkley sociologist, who said, “When the telephone arrived, people didn’t stop knocking on their neighbors’ doors; they called and then knocked” (Klinenberg). Klinenberg argues that technology itself has not isolated us, but rather technology has opened up new ways of connecting with those around us. Klinenberg also argues that we are not more isolated, but instead we spend more time worrying about if we actually are isolated or not. In addition, people are not feeling more lonely than they already are. People that are feeling lonely in their everyday lives will more than likely bring that loneliness to their online presence. This does not mean that Facebook is making people more lonely, but rather some people were already lonely to begin with. Ultimately, Klinenberg argues that Facebook is not making people lonely, but rather the only thing that can make someone lonely is oneself.
Social media has come a long way since the beginnings of Facebook. With Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat, there are many channels for people to present themselves online today. This evolution of technology and social media has allowed for more and more people to get connected to the online world. With these advancements in social media, it is extremely relevant to discuss whether social media is a cause of loneliness and isolation due to the drastic increase in social media users. Nearly everyone that I know has at least one form of social media, and if social media is causing loneliness, it would be increasingly important to figure it out sooner rather than later in order to inform the public about potential effects, such as anxiety or depression.
Personally, I do not believe that social media is necessarily making people feel lonelier, but it may amplify these feelings of loneliness that already exist within someone. I feel as though loneliness comes from the individual, and if someone is lonely then they will transfer that feeling to their online presence. If someone is lonely and sees other people living happy lives online, social media may not necessarily be creating new feelings of loneliness, but rather amplifying pre-existing emotions. I do not feel as though the online presence is the cause of loneliness. Personally, I have made a lot of friends through social media, specifically the streaming platform Twitch. I have become part of multiple streaming communities on Twitch, and I have made a lot of connections that I would consider to be close friends of mine. Social media can also be used to plan in-person events or connections as well. I feel as though social media enables people to stay more connected with each other, and for me, these connections do not make me feel any lonelier in my everyday life. I believe that loneliness depends on the individual. I feel as though social media, while it can be mentally draining at some points, does not necessarily create any more additional loneliness than someone already feels within themselves.