Monday, April 30, 2012

"Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" Period 4

Nonfiction Article of the Week from The Atlantic: May 2012


1. Read & annotate the article noting:

*Author's Bias(es)

*Tone

*Connections

*Reaction/ Personal Thoughts & Opinions

2. Post on this blog:

Do you believe that sites like Facebook have increased loneliness? Reference the article to support your opinion.

19 comments:

  1. I found this article to be quite interesting to read, probably because I can relate directly to it. The writer brought up many significant points about the relation of Facebook and loneliness.I thought that it was good that she clarified that "loneliness and being alone are not the same thing" which I completely agree with. It seems that a lot of people cannot be alone. I think that it is essential for our well being to be alone sometimes. However Facebook has made it possible for someone to escape from themselves by typing in an email and password. One quote that stood out to me because it was a very excellent point is "We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are,"(p.62). It seems that the word "connected" has now taken on a double meaning. I also enjoyed the structure of this article. She started and proceeded through the whole article asking the question does Facebook actually cause loneliness, and towards the end gave a clearer opinion. One statistic that was baffling to me is that one in 13 people on Earth have a Facebook and use it daily. That is absolutely a ridiculous amount. In my opinion I don't think that Facebook necessarily makes us lonely but helps out a lot. I feel like people worry more or think more about their self image with Facebook. And looking at everyone else's post or walls make people feel worse about themselves if they envy them. I agree with the statement that Facebook is a "tool" for loneliness.

    Emily McColl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice job referencing the article and looking at how the writer structured her argument...

      Delete
  2. Sites like facebook do not increased loneliness because just as Burke pointed out, “the popular kids are popular and the lonely sulkers skulk alone.” But the article brought out a good augment by stating, “today the one common feature in American secular culture is its celebration of the self that breaks away from the constrictions of the family and the state … the great American novel is Melville’s Moby-Dick, the tale of a man on a quest so lonely that it is incomprehensible to those around him.” These are the poems and novels we are been thought in school; so can a society that president Roosevelt called individualism the great watchword of its life really be looking for reasons why loneliness have become so common.
    Frankly the sites have nothing to do with the matter and more importantly people should start looking at what the society holds has its virtues because that is what should be in question.

    sandrine amin
    period 4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. in your opinion, how can a society improve its virtues?

      Delete
  3. Personally I believe Facebook and other social media sites function as a catalysis that only reveals our true personality. The article cites an Australian study that found "Facebook users have higher levels of total narcissism, exhibitionism, and leadership than Facebook nonusers" The act of being involved in Facebook means carefully crafting your online persona. It involves uploading "three photos from the party at which I took 300 photos". To devote such effort into the person you project and being able to review it at a moment's notice leads to narcissism. The more time we put into it the more we feel we should be proud of it. In this way it brings out the worst in us, it causes us to believe we are the best (or hate ourselves for not being perfect). Without Facebook we would still feel this way but in less intense and frequent doses. Facebook does the same thing with loneliness. Everyone feels lonely both when we're alone and not. However when we're alone we can fill that void with shallow connections. In the end, these tastes of companionship only serve to deepen our hunger for friendship, to the point where we must fill any gap in our social life with an attempt at outreach, never allowing ourselves a moment of introspection. Alternatively, when we're together we are also only a click away from being separated. It is far too easy to fail to pay attention to those nearest to us when technology provides an easy route. A little interaction without the mess of real-life.

    Another important bit this article touched upon is the difference between a connection and a bond. The latest technology allows us to be super-connected to anyone, anywhere but is that truly a significant accomplishment? Is being able to look at pictures of a friend of a friend while using the toilet a good thing? Is the ability to not be alone in our most primal, private, and for many sacred moments actually such a monumental achievement? This article says not. It closes with the solemn line "Facebook denies us a pleasure whose profundity we had underestimated: the chance to forget about ourselves for a while, the chance to disconnect." We are actually alone for an undeniably right reason. Yet we have been conditioned to believe that being alone is wrong and that we must fill the gap with shallow connections. Not only do these connections lack the depth and meaning of true bonds, they also prevent us from forming bonds with ourselves. We don't take the time to come to terms with our own thoughts and emotions. And we wonder why we're lonelier than ever with this technology, it prevents us from being friends with ourselves. And no one is lonelier than the person who isn't their own friend.

    Steve Perrott
    Period 4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting point-the crafting of a persona based on photographic choices and the correlation to narcissism. When I was little, most of the pictures in albums were crappy, but the purpose was to reflect on the memory, the moment. Now, I find myself critiquing so much more when looking through the photos I take. Narcissistic? Hmm.....

      Delete
  4. I feel social media sites have increased loneliness. People who are lonely to begin with only hinder themselves when they use Facebook by setting themselves up for attention they normally wouldn't receive in real life. When they don't get the communication they're searching for, it makes them feel lonelier because their expectations have been shattered. The article poses an interesting question: "Does the Internet make people lonely, or are lonely people attracted to the Internet?" (66) I think this depends on how lonely a person is to begin with. If someone never speaks to many people in real life, but online, they are a social butterfly, they will probably be lonely because they feel like they can't get the same relationships in real life that they have online. If someone is already lonely and they turn to Facebook to feel better, it will only make them feel more alone because they will constantly feel rejected by others who post more and interact more on Facebook. It is a difficult situation, but it is safe to say that the Internet and social media sites can definitely make someone sad and alone.

    Alessandra M.
    Per. 4

    ReplyDelete
  5. I do not believe that facebook is making people lonely. This is because people can use facebook and still be social, they could still have face to face conversations. The interesting part about the article is how they related that woman's death to facebook and how she was all alone. I believe that she brought that on herself, she probably had friends and family but she secluded herself from them. So, I believe that facebook does not cause loneliness , people bring loneliness on themselves.

    Kathryn Collins
    Period 4

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel as though that as a society today, we like to blame our problems and what seems like things that we cannot control. Evidently, there is a multitude of social problems that are present. But, we can't blame them all on the growing amount of technology and impact of social media sites. Loneliness, is a choice that people choose to make, just as people choose to use Facebook for purposes besides what it had been designed for. Facebook is a tool to help people stay in touch with others they are close to who they cannot be physically close to. When used that way it does more help than harm. Sometimes, people attempt to use social media as a shield to protect them from the potential dangers of real relationships and face to face confrontation. This was not its intention, however if that is a choice that a person makes then they should be allowed to live that way. After all, this is America.
    Jessica Teulings

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting viewpoint...let's discuss in class the idea that "loneliness is a choice."

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The article says, "...technology has delivered to us a world in which we need not be out of contact for a fraction of a moment." I agree with this completely. Technology, while delivering society into the future, is a veiled malignant disease. It is replacing our face to face interactions with others and, yes, it is making us lonely. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the practices it encourages are making us lonely people. Such practices are things like having to be constantly occupied, the obsession over knowing what others are doing, and the fact that we use it as a buffer in uncomfortable situations. Several times I have been talking to someone and the conversation will hit a dull point and the person pulls out their phone and sends a text to fill the pause. Why not attempt to keep the conversation going? It is because such social skills are slowly bleeding out of us.

    Another part in the article I thought was interesting was the study done where people were asked about who their confidants were in which they could discuss important matters with. The article says, "By 2004, 25 percent had nobody to talk to, and 20 percent had only one confidant". I found this interesting because I have come across a surprisingly large number of people who see a therapist today, both young people and adults. I am curious to know if there is any correlation between the reported lack of confidants and the sought support service of therapy.

    Near the end of the article it starts talking about how, "Facebook can be terrific, if we use it properly". The benefits of Facebook are indeed abundant. But is there a way to balance these potential benefits with the aspects of society it is robbing us of? I'm not sure there is, considering we already seem to be spiraling forward at an astounding rate.

    Kaity Robbins
    Period 4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points...let's discuss what "use it (Facebook) properly" might mean. What do you mean by "spiraling forward"?

      Delete
  9. I believe that Facebook has the power to isolate people. In a way, this article reminded me of the "alone but together" article. On the first page, a quote was made stating that "we are living in an isolation that would have been unimaginable to our ancestors, and yet we have never been more accessible." I do believe that Facebook has its benefits. For example, it is a place to access information. If something occurs, millions of people instantly have information. On the other hand, statistics brought up in this article show that people would rather have this access to people, but be isolated at the same time. In 2010, it was found that 27% of households just had one person. These people are connected, but disconnected at the same time. Facebook is also portrayed in this article as a tool for boasting, which leads me to the point of people becoming insecure because they are exposed to their friends on Facebook posting pictures of different things in their life that may be better. Or does this motivate people to better themselves? This makes me question; is Facebook creating some kind of hidden competition between society? How do we address the hidden problems that Facebook brings?

    -Ashley Murphy
    Period 4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points....is there a healthy way to utilize FB?

      Delete
  10. I think that Facebook can potentially make people lonelier. First of all, the United States has a history with being consumed with the new technologies. In the past, Americans were obsessed with the telephone, then the automobile, then television, and now computers and specifically social networks such as Facebook. Especially now that the obsession now has to do with communication, it diminishes human contact, and actual conversation. Also, it reduces the desire for one to form an intimate relationship. It seems as if the themes portrayed in Fahrenheit 451 are becoming a sad reality for the citizens of the United States. In the article, the following question was proposed, “Does the internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the internet?” I think that there is a rather ambiguous answer for this question. It can definitely work both ways; some effects of internet use can make one inclined to be lonely as a result of the fascination of the internet. In contrast, lonely people may seek their gratification by the use of the internet by “meeting” new people in the digital world. But, I don’t think that just if one uses Facebook, he or she will become lonely, or is lonely. I actually agree with the article when it states that “Facebook is merely a tool, he says, and like any tool, its effectiveness will depend on the user.” So, I believe that if one uses it properly, in which he or she uses it as a supplement for his or her social life, in a moderate fashion, then there shouldn’t be a problem. But, if someone uses facebook all the time, and has an unreasonable obsession, along with completely replacing human interaction with Facebook, then loneliness can result. I also liked when the author compared using facebook to driving a car. “It’s like a car. You can drive it to pick up your friends. Or you can drive alone.” Thus, I believe that facebook can make people lonely, but if and only if it is abused.

    Alex Gogliettino
    Per. 4

    ReplyDelete
  11. After reading the article, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely, I concluded that facebook is the outlet for lonely people and not at all the reason for the increase in lonely people. Facebook is something that people can go to when they are bored to fill that void, but in no way is it making people lonely. This question in the article is what led me to my argument, and it states, “Does the internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the internet?” I like this question because I believe that it is lonely people being attracted to the internet because they are already lonely. I don’t think people chose willingly to use or go to the internet so they can become lonely, but rather fill the loneliness at any moment. Many people attack facebook as the reason for people becoming lonely when its sites like facebook that help people with a small social group expand their boundaries to meet new people. In addition, I believe that facebook and the internet can work as a great motivator for people. Burke stated in the article, “’If people are reading about lives that are much better than theirs, two things can happen…They can feel worse about themselves, or they can feel motivated.” In my personnel opinion, I think this country has created a very competitive atmosphere in our society today, so I think people would be more motivated to make new friends or work harder in the workplace so they can give off a better profile. Overall, there is a counter argument that facebook is making us lonely, but I honestly can say that this site can work both ways, and hopefully in the future physiologists will see that facebook is making people more outgoing rather than lonely.

    -Pompeo M
    Per.4

    ReplyDelete
  12. After reading this article I was wondering if facebook really does affect loneliness. In the article, the researches always said how we become lonely ourselves. And how we make ourselves lonely. I thought that was interesting because some people might chose to be lonely. Also, I feel that facebook does disconnect us from our family and friends. For the lond distance relationships facebook comes in handy. I also think when I talk to my friends when they are on their phones on facebook or twitter, I feel that sometimes they arent even listening to me. everyones phones are attached to their hips. Technology in general can hurt our communication skills down the road in the future.

    Erica Celentano
    Period 4

    ReplyDelete