As you may be aware, ever since getting a Facebook account (i.e. succumbing to the pretty permanent fad on campus), I've been alternately amused and frustrated by certain aspects of it. In fact, I was just criticizing its creation of people who have lots of "friends" but few-to-no close, intimate confidantes. I called it "faceless friendship."
And now I've finally gotten around to reading "Loneliness in Numbers," an article in the latest Atlantic magazine that points out that the coming-of-age of the Internet and the social media thereof has also brought about (or maybe highlighted) the advent of another phenomenon--loneliness in the midst of connectivity.
The author makes some good points. One of my favorite observations:
Acquaintances are easy to maintain with casual, group emails and Holiday notes. But real friends? They take time and energy--both to develop, and to nurture or maintain.
And the key observation:
And the more ... time anyone spends maintaining a broad network of Internet, text, Facebook and Twitter friends and updates, the less time and energy they have to devote to any one friend or person.
Here it's a case of being able to have a few deep friendships, or a wide-ranging, gigantic circle of friends... it's unfortunate that we do not have the time or energy to have both.