I have a terrible new addiction and it’s of the teenage-variety: Facebook. Every thirty minutes, I frantically open the laptop or swipe the phone to check my News Feed. What are people doing? Where is everyone? I wrack my brain to post status updates. What excitement can I tell the world? How to confirm I exist?
I’m single. I’m sad. I’m lonely. This is natural. What’s new is propping up my self-esteem and social network with impersonal, amorphous, distributed computer applications.
I’m at nefarious cross-purposes. I want to connect with the world at large but don’t want to connect with particulars, as the individual is messy, localized, and (well) just one person. Why deal with the complexities of direct, intimate social contact – like body language, tone, and emotions – when I can dive into an unmediated stream of funny cartoons, political diatribes, reposts, and people I don’t know but could?
Ug. I need to realize that I am lonely and isolated. I lack standard social systems of workplace, sets of friends, family, and partner. Facebook is great for discovering upcoming social events, but terrible for connecting to others. If I want to tackle that loneliness, I’ve got to get off the internet and on the street to interact with people in the old-fashioned, ultra-high resolution way: talking to them.