Is Facebook making us more lonely?
Well, it’s not making me more lonely, because I’m not on it—although I suppose if I thought about it, the fact that I’m not on Facebook could make me feel more lonely. But I do think there’s a tendency for the computer in general to make people less likely to have face-to-face encounters, although paradoxically I’ve probably had more face-to-face encounters because of it, not fewer, because I’ve sometimes met fellow bloggers and even a few readers who might live near me or near places I often visit.
A critique of the article is offered here, but somehow I don’t buy it. I think the author isn’t going far enough back in time to make the proper comparison.
What I’ve seen of Facebook tends to remind me of those annual Christmas letters. We can create a narrative of our lives that looks good, whatever it has to do with reality.
Kind of like in this song:
And, of course, someone did take our Kodachrome away in 2009, although it wasn’t mama. It was just the declining market, due to digital photography.
You know when I first noticed the decline of face-to-face socializing, at least in the community where I lived? The 80s, with the advent of the video store. People didn’t have to go out to the movies, or have people over to schmooze or play cards or whatever people used to do (that’s what my parents used to do). Of course, they could rent a movie and have people over to watch that—and of course, sometimes that happened—but it was really easy, after a hard day, to just rent the movie and kick back at home alone, or just the two of you. I used to meet half the people I knew at the local video store on a Saturday night, getting ready to watch movies at home rather than going out together as they used to. Now, even that minimal amount of socializing at the video store doesn’t have to happen; we can stream the movies directly.
Progress. Convenience. But what is lost?