The Era of Loneliness is Upon Us


Mon, Nov 25th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In The Globe and Mail, Elizabeth Renzetti has this fascinating article on how, in an era where "we have never been better connected," we are also the most adrift from each other, making the rise of loneliness a serious public health concern. Above, a video on the death of Joyce Carol Vincent, whose body -- found still lying on the couch watching a TV that was never turned off -- wasn’t discovered for three years.

Proponents and detractors of social media can cherry-pick from studies showing that technology makes people feel either more connected, or more isolated. But one this summer from the University of Michigan analyzed subjects’ responses to a variety of texted questions during the day, and showed that using Facebook increased feelings of loneliness and alienation: “On the surface,” the researchers wrote, “Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection. Rather than enhancing well-being, however, these findings suggest that Facebook may undermine it.”

Talk to enough lonely people and you’ll find they have one thing in common: They look at Facebook and Twitter the way a hungry child looks through a window at a family feast and wonders, “Why is everyone having a good time except for me?”

Marci O’Connor, 42, is an anglophone living in the largely French-speaking community of Mont Saint-Hilaire, just south of Montreal, with her husband and two children. She “almost feels guilty” for her feelings of isolation, but years of working alone as a freelance writer have taken their toll, and she’s now applying to be a waitress so she’ll have more human contact.



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