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The Innovation of Loneliness: "I share, therefore I am"

“I share, therefore I am.”

Watch the video, The Innovation of Loneliness, from Shimi Cohen, for an illuminating explanation of our growing social networks and their effect on our daily lives.

Look around you. Families out for dinner sit together, texting or tweeting. “I share, therefore I am.”

When we are in class, we go on Facebook instead of learning about Newton’s Three Laws. “I share, therefore I am.”

Our work desks, with phones, tablets and headphones strewn across them, look like cockpits. “I share, therefore I am.”

We’re never far from the devices that connect us to what’s going on in the world around us. Our online social networks expand at a rapid pace, but do our face-to-face relationships do the same?

To find the answer, let us discuss the innovation of loneliness.

The Innovation of Loneliness

textingWhat is the connection between social networks and being lonely?

When we communicate on our devices, we learn different habits. Social networks aren’t just changing what we’re doing, but also who we are.

“We’re collecting friends like stamps,” says Cohen, director of the video above. “Not distincting quantity versus quality, and converting the deep meaning and intimacy of friendship with exchanging photos and chat conversations.”

We’ve become obsessed with getting noticed, with presenting our ideal self. As our focus becomes enveloped by this digital craving, we lose sight of personal relationships. As we ramp up the intensity of online connections, our terrestrial connections suffer.

An email, tweet or post is not a substitute for a conversation. If we behave like that fact is true, we sacrifice conversation for mere connection.

“And so,” Cohen points out, “a paradoxical situation is created, in which we claim to have many friends while actually being lonely.”

We are so ingrained with our social networks that we rarely stop to smell the roses, and when we do, there’s no one there smelling them with us.

Are We Lonely?

You may have noticed the “I share, therefore I am” in the opening paragraph. That is the new mantra of our digitally-connected generation, as we are increasingly defining ourselves by the shape digital presence. Have you checked your Klout score recently?

As we continue to reach out for more connections in our social networks, our tangible connections in human interactions dwindle. Soon, will we be alone?