Del Williams

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Are We More Lonely in a Connected World?

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Are We More Lonely in a Connected World?
I live in a City where everyone walks around with headphones stuffed in their ears, so it goes without saying that even in the middle of events, people have their heads down looking at their smartphones or are posting about what is going on, almost ignoring the people in the room. So, why is it in this world that is so connected, are so many so lonely?

For the sake of this post I am going to simplify the answer. The online relationships are not transitioning offline. Let me be clear, meeting people in person does not make them "friends." It helps, but clearly that is not the case. People know the "social" person, but do they know their story? I doubt it.

Years ago, when I was a newbie on Twitter, I would randomly call a follower. People who I had interacted with. The result was that people seemed pissed that I had intruded on their time, so I stopped calling. With the exception of one person, most of the time I had to do the reaching out. To this day, only one person has ever just called me to see how I was and chew the fat.

Fortunately, I do have strong friendships, I have tons of acquaintances, and it took me a long time to learn the difference, but what about others? Those who think they have friends online, but when they near an ear, that friend can't make time for them outside of their social networking time.
Which leads me to wonder, with all the networking events and meetups, is it possible that people are looking for friendships and not business prospects? Are they looking for people to know them beyond the online persona? I think so.

When I look at my feeds, before I knew that so many were hiding their truth, I felt bad about my life. Social media is a great TOOL. It can lead to so much, if we allow it, but I fear that for many, the lack of offline interaction through calls, face-to-face interaction and handwritten (gasp!) notes is revealing the depth of loneliness when the follower count says they are popular. In other words, they may be popular online, but don't have the real friendships offline, so the result is loneliness.

What do you think? Do you think people are lonely or am I missing the mark?
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