There is definitely a connection between social media and loneliness. I’ve experienced it myself. Over the past year, I’ve cut back on my social media use, but before that, I was definitely a Twitter addict. I had accumulated over 100,000 Twitter followers, yet it was a very lonely time in my life. I’m not the only one who has struggled with this. This four and a half minute video is the most powerful one I’ve seen on the topic. It claims that loneliness is the most common ailment in the tech world.
Keep in mind that loneliness and being alone are two very different things. I love being alone. It’s awesome. When I’m home alone, I can walk around naked, eat cold pizza, watch trash on my computer, open all the windows and play loud music. I have no problem when it comes to being alone.
However, when we start accumulating social media connections (followers, fans, etc.) in place of having meaningful conversations, that’s when the lines start to get blurry. Substituting a feeling of social media success for real relationships is a recipe for loneliness, and I can understand why this video calls it a ‘common ailment.’
On the flip side, social media is a beautiful thing that has enhanced all our lives beyond our imaginations. I’m not saying social media is responsible for this. We are all responsible for our own actions. I’m just pointing out that it’s not a substitute for physical contact with other people. No matter how much we love Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and all our favorite sites, our computers simply can’t give us what we need as human beings. We are social creatures, and we always will be. And, I mean social in the sense of needing face to face human friendship and engagement.
If you are experiencing this feeling of loneliness, just remember that you are not alone. Also remember that offline interaction matters. Take it from someone who has recovered from this common ailment. I’ve been all the way from one extreme to the other. It’s not all bad though. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t change that ride to the edge and back for anything.