Guest Column: Why Facebook might be making you lonely – Part 2

Guest Column: Why Facebook might be making you lonely – Part 2

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Samuel Alemayhu
second year Lane business major


WITHOUT a method of connecting through authentic communication, such as face-to-face conversation, it becomes difficult to decipher what is real and what is fabricated. If you’ve ever met a person who was outspoken via text, but shy and reserved in person, then you have experienced this firsthand.

These mistakes in meaning have existed since the dawn of the texting era and is something we are all guilty of. Too often have I engaged in long, witty and compelling conversations with a girl over text just to seemingly have nothing to talk about once face to face. Too often have I sent the infamous “on my way” text to a friend when I happened to surely not be “on my way.”

A person’s actions must be consistent with their words, but with the power of social media it has become harder to detect the incongruity between the two. It is uncanny how dissimilar people in my own social networking circles can seem in comparison to their online persona. Some of the more seemingly introverted people I know, may happen to find a voice that is loud, gregarious and passionate within 140 characters on their Twitter feeds.

Fortunately for people who may be deemed uncontrollably awkward in real life situations, social networking sites may be used as an excellent alternative that enables us to be ‘’social’’ without even being in the same room. Hidden are the accidental revelations we make at parties: the awkward pauses, the farting, the spilled drinks and the general gaucherie of face-to-face contact.

Instead, we have the lovely smoothness of a seemingly social machine. Everything’s so simple: status, update, pictures, your wall. Marche explains how sites like Facebook allow us to instantly keep in touch with our friends, family and co-workers, while avoiding the mess of real life human interaction.

In the book “Alone Together” by Sherry Turkle, professor of the social studies of science and technology at MIT and the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, states that “Facebook users have higher levels of total narcissism, exhibitionism and leadership than non-Facebook users. In fact, it can be argued that Facebook specifically gratifies the narcissistic individual’s need to engage in self-promoting and superficial behavior.’’

This theory insists that Facebook’s appeal specifically caters to individuals who seem to exhibit symptoms of narcissism. These people are almost addictively drawn to the endorphin rush experienced whenever a few friends post on their wall or one of their photos receives a number of likes. I believe that a large number of social media users my age have fallen victim to their own narcissism, which has pushed us further away from one another.

To be continued in edition 21.

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