How often do you feel lonely? Whether your answer to this was ‘sometimes’ or ‘always’, you are not the only one. According to a recent survey, loneliness is increasing at a disturbing rate in modern society. The question that arises is how can someone feel lonely in the Internet age when everyone is deeply involved in and connected by social media all the time. You are actively using it from morning till bedtime, and yet you feel lonely! How can this be possible? The answer is complicated, however not for those who want to dig deeper.
Today, we feel lonely despite being connected 24x7 with all our friends through social media. We can see their faces and what they are up to anytime. We can always text them and read their tweets. We can always text or call and say 'hi' to them, and we’ll also get their reply. Still, we feel that something is missing. Is there really something missing? Have you ever felt this?
Some people who are super-active on social media have now started feeling that 'missing part'. They post a quote on their wall that says “Please read my entire post” (which doesn't contain any photo) and then they would explain it. It seemed that other people were behaving like robots while reading their posts, and they were expecting human interaction. People were liking their photos and tweets without reading them. It was a robotic gesture on their part while scrolling through their Facebook wall.
You have now got half of your answer. Let's go ahead and find out more!
We all know that man is a social creature, who before the invention of social media was in touch with actual human beings all the time. He was habitual of eye contact, tone of voice, touch and laughter instead of a profile picture and text messages. So today after spending many hours on social media, after a point of time, people feel an urge for that actual human touch. But that's not possible, say via Facebook. The bottom line is that human touch can never be replaced by Social Media. Interacting with a single person, in reality, is far more satisfying than interacting with 100 people on social media. So if you are searching for real happiness, you have to stick to the basics. Young people have the option of various sports, arts, clubs and other activities that can give them opportunities to interact with people. Facebook is never going to give the same satisfaction. It even becomes a cause of depression after a point of time.
I would like to add an important point here: Some people suggest that social media is beneficial for older people who live alone, but I have found that it is dangerous for them as well. It does not only take them away from reality but also reduces their chances of coming back to social circles. They should instead try to find an old age group in their nearby area (even if it's with the help of social media) where they can sit, talk and plan short trips with people of the same age group. The thought that social media is a source for becoming socially independent is the root cause of this loneliness. After all, for how many hours can one scroll through Facebook? After a point of time, everyone gets bored and frustrated and then seeks the human touch.
Even Health specialists are looking into the fact that spending a lot of time on social media may be more harmful than smoking and drinking. According to them, it is not good for our collective psychology. The posts, pictures and other content on social media play a considerable role in shaping and bending our thoughts, and emotional and behavioral patterns. Cyberbullying and Facebook depression are the latest examples. Therefore, kids, teenagers, and adults— all are at risk if they are using social media excessively.
Here is a list of some major points which I think make social media responsible for increasing loneliness:-
Social media is addictive
It is so addictive that you start neglecting both your personal and professional life. You start ignoring people in real life, and it doesn’t let you focus on your professional life and work. Your mood fluctuates during Internet browsing and your tolerance level also decreases.
More Sadness than Happiness
If you use social media beyond a certain limit, it will start making you less happy. The reason behind this is that if you scroll through Facebook all the time for momentary enjoyment, chances are that you are not satisfied in your real life. Otherwise, why would you do this? If you are getting enough love from your spouse, partner or children, then why would you die for LIKES on Facebook? The Bitter Reality of Social Media: If you find someone very active on Facebook, you will find that they are isolated in real life.
Comparison with the whole Facebook generation
Before social media was invented, we used to compare ourselves to some of our close and famous friends. But now, we compete with the entire generation that is on Facebook and it is only increasing day by day. What are we getting at the end of the day? Disappointment. Nothing more.
It makes you jealous
Use of social media also causes you to be jealous. This mostly happens when your friends actively post pictures of their tropical holidays or their achievements that you also wanted to achieve but didn't. Seeing only a single side of the coin evokes feelings of jealousy.
We see social media as our happiness partner
Why you visit social media is not a question that you can answer directly. Still, you are aware that it gives you temporary pleasure, a distraction from your current problems or maybe you just use it to pass your time. But you don't really get anything out of it. You don't find real friends here as they are all busy in gaining likes and peeping into other people's lives. You don't find happiness either as it isn't sold there. Instead of passing your time, you actually end up losing a lot of your time which is a priceless commodity that never comes back.
So my advice will always be to stop using social media to find some real friends, or to increase your social network. If you don't believe me, just ask for help on social media and see how many people turn up for you and for how long? Instead of socializing more on social media, I would recommend all of you to have a group of friends in real life.
Note: If you have a shy or introverted nature in real life, don't use social media as it will increase your shyness even more.