The Stephen Marche article is based on a question of whether Facebook is creating loneliness among its users. The rate of loneliness among the American population seems to have increased recently, especially with invention of internet and social media. Most people seem to be concentrating more about their Facebook friends, forgetting physical relation. The article is based on the case of an old celebrity, who dies to what is associated to loneliness. This happens even after having so many Facebook friends. The incident made many people believe that Facebook makes people lonely. Nevertheless, Stephen does not buy this idea. According to him, Facebook is just a platform where a person transfers his or her existing connection virtually. In addition, people get to feel better when they share their status or comment to their friends in Facebook. Stephen argues that people who want to be lonely can be lonely even without the social media. The only relation between loneliness and Facebook is that most lonely people tend to spend most of their time on Facebook. They therefore in a way try to use Facebook to fight loneliness or to pass time; hangout (Marche 2-4).
I highly agree with Stephen that Facebook does not create loneliness. If anything, Facebook improves the status of the lonely people. Facebook among other social media provide a platform where one can chat and share their feelings with people, unburdening their emotions and distress. Facebook in particular ease the technique of accessing old friends that one could not manage to connect with in the normal situation. This makes it easy for people to catch up, share life events whether happy or painful, and gets an opportunity to get encouraged and supported by old friends that matters in their life. According to Ranaiey, Taghavi and Goodarzi (163), lonely people do not have different reasons of using social media compared to non-lonely people. This implies that they do not use social media because they are lonely. However, lonely people are said to spend more time in the social media compared to non-lonely people. This could be because they do not have quality physical social relations and hence they try to compensate that with virtual interaction with their old friends. Most lonely people are alone. Although being alone does not guarantee loneliness, most people who live alone lack strong family connection and hence they do not find it hard to use all their social time in the social media. They tend to find or get the satisfaction they would wish for in the social media.
Loneliness according to is frequently considered as the social isolation psychological embodiment, mirroring the person’s experienced discontentment with closeness and frequency of their social connections or the inconsistency between the associations they have and the association they would wish to have (Steptoe et al. 5797). In most cases, when a person experience dissatisfactions in their relationship, they tend to isolate themselves and completely cut their social interaction. However, this is different from what happens in the Facebook. People interact with each other virtually in the Facebook. Although the interaction is not physical, the sharing, and conversation taking place among friends is similar to the physical interaction. This means Facebook tries to substitute the natural interaction aspect, but not to kill social interaction as isolation would do. Thus, just as Stephen put it, Facebook only transfer physical connections into a virtual platform and hence, it does not add much to individual interaction desires, dislikes or likes, but only act as a tool to enhance this interaction. Thus it cannot be held responsible of creating loneliness. On the contrary, Facebook help people meet again after a lone separation and rekindle their friendship and social interaction. According to Cotton, Anderson and McCullough (2013), internet use allows older adults to remain in contact with one another and converse with their social ties. Similar to other digital communication platforms, Facebook can reduce the geographical distance impact for all who use it. Although intensive Facebook reduces individual physical interaction, it does not block individual’s social interaction. It only changes the ground or the platform where most of the interaction takes place.
Loneliness is mostly perceived not as an outer aspect of interaction, but an inner satisfaction. According to Cotton, Anderson and McCullough (e42) social isolation refers to objective experience of contact absence with other people, particularly the contact absence with individuals who offer desired or needed social support. Thus, social isolation is lack of meaningful social associations. Although social loneliness and isolation are closely associated concepts, persons that are socially isolated might not report loneliness feelings even though they do not have social contract. On the contrary, an individual who has rich social contact and is not socially isolated may report loneliness feelings if that contact does not seem as fulfilling what the individual wants from the association. This piece can counter the common counter argument that claims that Facebook reduces individual physical social interaction and hence act as a source of loneliness. Based on this piece, loneliness cannot be measured by having or lacking what people would consider social contact. On the contrary, it is measured by the satisfaction the contact offer. Thus, it is not how one socializes, or with how many people, but the quality of the association. This simply implies that a person may manage more satisfying social relation via Facebook, than other would have in physical social interaction. Thus, I do not support the argument that Facebook brings loneliness, on the contrary, I believe that Facebook acts as a means of reducing loneliness among individuals who have failed in establishing strong social ties in their adulthood. The chance of reuniting with childhood friends and confidant increases the quality of their social interactions, reducing loneliness.
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