Social media—from Facebook to Twitter—have made us more densely networked than ever.Yet for all this connectivity, new research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.Solitary living does not guarantee a life of unhappiness, of course. 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.
Her computer was on too, its glow permeating the empty space.
The Los Angeles Times posted a story headlined “Mummified Body of Former Playboy Playmate Yvette Vickers Found in Her Benedict Canyon Home,” which quickly went viral.
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.
Over the past three decades, technology has delivered to us a world in which we need not be out of contact for a fraction of a moment.
In 2010, at a cost of 0 million, 800 miles of fiber-optic cable was laid between the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange to shave three milliseconds off trading times.
F of a dramatic increase in the quantity and intensity of human loneliness, a rise that initially made the site’s promise of greater connection seem deeply attractive. In 1950, less than 10 percent of American households contained only one person.
By 2010, nearly 27 percent of households had just one person.
The depiction of Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network, as a bastard with symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome, was nonsense. We have all been in that scene: transfixed by the glare of a screen, hungering for response.
When you sign up for Google and set up your Friends circle, the program specifies that you should include only “your real friends, the ones you feel comfortable sharing private details with.” That one little phrase, Your real friends—so quaint, so charmingly mothering—perfectly encapsulates the anxieties that social media have produced: the fears that Facebook is interfering with our real friendships, distancing us from each other, making us lonelier; and that social networking might be spreading the very isolation it seemed designed to conquer.
The company hopes to raise billion in an initial public offering later this spring, which will make it by far the largest Internet IPO in history.