Social Media is Making Us Lonely

I saw this video today on the Relevant Magazine website and my mind is officially blown. 

It is a short animated film based on the book "Alone Together" by Sherry Turkle. The clip makes a great argument for something that we all know is true: our lack of substantive relationships is contributing to widespread loneliness in our culture. As much as we love our Facebook, we must admit that it has the power to deceive us into believing that we truly are connected.  

PLEASE watch the video. (If you are reading this in your RSS or email subscription and can't see the clip, PLEASE head over to INFOforFamilies  and invest four minutes of your life to see it.)

I am certain that this tendency to sacrifice meaningful relationships and communication for well-crafted soundbites has impacted our adult relationships. But what truly scares me is how it impacts our kids who have never known anything different. As I sit and consider what the video showed, I'm left with lots of questions...

Social media allows us to show our prettiest pictures, our funniest quips, and our most awesome experiences. But how real is that? Our lives are often ugly, boring, and not-so-awesome. Are we creating a standard for ourselves and others that suggests that our daily lives are full of rainbows, unicorns, and butterflies? Who can keep up with that? And who do I show the real me to?

If we present this perfect (and often shallow) picture of our lives, do we (and our kids) come to convince ourselves that everything truly is okay? That we really do have 850 friends? That we aren't feeling lonely.

Where is there room for the presence of God and the grace that Jesus offers us? We know we need Him, but the outward persona that we display - and the isolation that goes with it - often don't allow us to cry out loud in the context of community and admit that we need help.

Watching this video makes me want to go home and hug my wife. And confess a few insecurities to my friends. And tell my kids how fulfilling a relationship with God can be. This video makes me want to be more like the monkey that was referenced in the beginning. Twenty great friends would be incredible.

As you watch the clip, what questions come to your mind? And if anyone has any good answers, I would love to hear them.


*One final word: If you live in Atlanta, Johnson Ferry is hosting K. Jason Krafsky, author of Facebook and Your Marriage, to talk about the impact of technology on our families. He will be here on Sunday, September 15 at 8:30 and 9:50. I'm sure he will deal with these issues.

Barrett JohnsonComment