Alone Together: The Impact Of Social Media and Its Relationship to Loneliness
The Impact Of Social Media and Its Relationship to Loneliness In the school, parks, restaurants, or streets we can always see a person who is busy “tweeting”, checking Facebook, or putting pictures to Instagram. Earlier in the past, people would spent their free time with family and friends, reading books, going to the park with kids, and playing games outside. If in the last century, people could say, “You are what your friends are”; nowadays, you are what you “like”, post, or share on Facebook. Social media networks have became some of the most entertaining and popular things all over the world, as well as it makes us remember the quote by T.S. Eliot: “Distracted from distraction by distraction.” Social media is a network of web-sites where people share or discus information; also, it is a great op- portunity to communicate long-distance and build new friendships. Although, social network was designed for people to become closer and help to improve their relations, it also declined out at- tempt to communicate in person. In urban life, social media makes such a lonely activity for us — to be stuck in front of the screen.
The paradox of social technology that reduces our social in- volvement does affect a lot of people, and can lead to social awkwardness and loneliness. As big as the media itself, it connects all of us in every single aspect, but makes us to be alone together. How does social networks reduce our social involvement? There are three ways through which social media brings us to isolation from the real world: it is easy available, entertaining and very popular. At first, it is so easy and free to make an account on social website, such as Tweeter, Facebook, MySpase, Skype and so on. Because many of us have internet on out phones, it makes it more available and on the go. The statistics shows that, “over a billion people belong to Face- book, the world’s largest online social network, and over half of them log in daily” (Kross). Being around your friends or in school, we would not realize that we keep looking at our phones, and checking the latest news. Social networks make it easy for us to control distances — weather you choose open up for people, or keep them away, there is always a capability for you to keep your distance just right. I use social networks in my regular life, and it helps me to communicate with my family from all around the world. It is easier and cheeper for all of us; we do not have to spent money on our plane tickets, and cancel our plans, because we can connect over the com- puter.
On another hand, the technology reduces chances for me to travel and visit my family. In this way, we can see how easily our conversations transform to connections. People do not have to plan meetings and events in person, because they can connect, press button, and promote everything. Nowadays, most of the things we search for is through “the easy way”. Wether its interviews, shopping, planning birthday events or reunions, anything what we would usually do in person, now we do without getting out of our houses, and even without leaving our room. By sitting in front of the screen, and doing our “easy available” activities, we isolate ourselves from social life, which is also shows our laziness based on advantages of technology. Another of the ways though which social network isolating us from the real life, is the entertainment of it. People in general cannot live without something that can make them feel ￼happy and satisfied. Its a great source for us to get entertained, because being online we can present ourselves that we want to be. People can filter all the negatives and show only the positives through uploading pictures, statuses or other information. Social networks such Facebook have a huge amount of groups where people can share their interests; therefore, we have no need for meeting people in person, if we know whats going on in their lives through computer. It is of course helps more introvert people to find new friendships, but it does opposite outcome for more extrovert people, who get addicted to online society. Like video games, and mass media, social media has a great influence on us to get stuck at home. In one of the journals by Graeme Hutton, explains the connection between entertainment activities and humans: Passive social media activities — online reading and viewing, for instance — typically demand less involvement and cognitive processing than such active pursuits as writing, creating video, and posting to sites. Consumers are more likely to be involved in passive rather than active usage largely because such activities demand less conscious effort (566). The quote shows the relation that has speed up our social media use; which is also reminds us of the “easy available” entertaining activities that lead us to spent less time in public.
More people get lonely, or depressed without socializing, and you can benefit from social network, that give you an opportunity to connect, or in some cases to disconnect from people. Finally, when you create a free account, make your profile and put your “life” into it, most of people want to get famous. In another words, we want everyone to know what we are doing, and see how many people “like” or “share” it with us. People want to be popular, so their news get a top rank on a “news feed”, such as one on Facebook. We “engage socially online”, because we have “needs to promote ourselves” (Hutton 566). But as we search through our news feed we can see already “popular” people, who usually very good looking, or rich, or successful in their lives. Such little things makes us feel insecure about ourselves, and think that we are not good, pretty, smart enough. After these activities, some of us get socially awkward and do not want to attend the public, which will lead our road to loneliness.
On another hand, the “popular” people spent a big amount of hours on the computer to promote themselves, which makes them lonely from the lack of activities they could have done outdoor with their friends. This example makes us to see the paradox of social technology, where we can feel cut off from other people even if they around us. In the short future, our generation will have a plugged-in lives. The explanation of it is that more and more people will get lazy, fake, insecure or jealous that would lead our society to shift. We would have more stereotype than unique people, because it will be “easier” for us to communicate with people such like us ourselves. Lack of emotions will increase, because people will forget how it is to have a facial expression. Loneliness will take the major spot, because we will be scared to act in front of other people whether than the screen. World will become a smaller place, but in this case it will fundamentally affect our social life. We will be alone, but together seeking for connection, and if people want to escape from loneliness, they would have to rely on new technology; therefore make it a vicious cycle.