“Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?”

Stephen Marche’s article “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” investigates how social media, specifically Facebook, is causing an outbreak of society feeling more lonely and isolated than ever before. Especially considering the era of a digital age that is suppose to make society be more connected than disconnected. However, it is questioned furthermore if it’s actually making us feel lonely, or as a society we are choosing to be alone. Social media has allowed us to engage more efficiently and faster, by paying no mind at the cost to do so. For instance, the 800 miles of fiber-optic cable laid between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, was valued at $300 million, to purely shave off three milliseconds of trading times.

Although the digital world allows individuals to communicate at a broad spectrum, it should be questioned whether or not the kindred is still the same as in the past? Likewise is the individual still representing themselves as their true nature or undertaking a new persona? In relation to the article, the pursuit of happiness in the digital life has people trying to fulfill their void of happiness and self-concept by continuing a constant appearance online. Jaron Lanier, one of the inventors of virtual reality technology states, “ I fear that we are beginning to design ourselves to suit a digital models of us, and I worry about a leaching of empathy and humanity in that process.” Subsequently at times, people will pay whatever cost to not be alone, thus causing a possibility to effect their manner and behavior. Individuals may present a “Face Work” mask to hide their true self or present a persona that is in favor to others. Self-expression and personal authenticity in the social media age is rare and unforgiving. Examinations are thus done to view the interconnectedness of social interactions of those we choose to share information with, and those that are perceived as real friends.

The only critique I have about the information presented is the data regarding the American household percentiles that have presumably fluctuated due to human loneliness. The article indicates that in 1950 there were less than 10 percent of households with only one person, verses in 2010 nearly 27 percent have only one person. It’s quite unfair to compare loneliness to households due to the author not considering all the external factors as to why the increase has occurred. There were no mentions that household rent is much more expansive than before in the 1950’s nor the fact that the millennial generation are not having as many children due to financial constraints. In addition, it’s easier to afford one individual, individually, considering all other expanses one has to afford.

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