Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Atlantic Validates Our Prediction: Social Media May Make Us Lonelier

In this year's edition of our annual predictions of top media stories, one of our prediction was: "We may be immersed in social media, but we’ll spend less time with actual people."

Back in Jan., we wrote, "So many people use social media sites – from Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn, to and more -- that people have less time to spend with their friends and family. We’re not sure if this will get much media coverage..."

Well The Atlantic Monthly has validated our prediction in its May 2012 issue. It's article, "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" makes the point that: "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." Written by Stephen Marche, a novelist who writes a monthly column for Esquire, the article reports on "what the epidemic of loneliness is doing to our souls and our society."

It's well worth reading.

And today's Boston Globe validated our prediction that "The desire to be connected 24/7 may change in 2012." Op-ed columnist Joanna Weiss wrote, "Giving screens -- and ago -- a week off," in favor of unplugging from 24/7 and a Screen Free-Week. Check that out, too.

Late-in-the-Day Update: Just got around to reading Jane E. Brody's column in today's Times.  She's a must-read health columnist, and her current column, "Making Progress Against Clutter," went beyond thinking of clutter as physical objects.  She spent about half the column talking about how much she enjoyed a recent trip to Antarctica because she and her two sons did not spend hours monitoring email and world news.  Instead,
We read books and missed not one excursion, lecture, vista or conversation with an interesting shipmate.
As I watched others buried in their iPads, laptops and smartphones, I wondered what people did on vacation before we had this plethora of electronic equipment keeping us “in touch” 24/7. Perhaps they telephoned now and then to see how the dog was faring.
Not knowing about problems back home or at work surely meant vacations were more relaxing, a real break from daily stress.
 Makes a pretty strong case for unplugging.

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