You hear it here and there that digital era and social network quadrupled loneliness, pushed to insane proportions, and now we have loneliness as the main epidemic of the digital era. A lot of people do dismiss the idea of epidemic of loneliness. They view it as a simple trend of the 21st century that lies in everyone complaining about how lonely they feel. But you do feel a bit bothered when you see that long few-hundred-or-thousand-comments-long thread of people claiming to be lonely. One tweet or Facebook post that goes like "Is it just me or everyone feels extremely lonely here?" or "Have you ever got that feeling of extreme loneliness?", and you will get at least 250 comments or tweets with people saying that they feel extremely lonely too. While one can dismiss loneliness as something that it pretty much in vogue in the 21st century, the reality is way more complicated and tragic, if you want. Loneliness is indeed the epidemic of the 21st century. Let's figure out how loneliness as epidemic started and how it became that widespread.

Internet as the World of Illusion

Since 1985 the number of people that have zero friends had tripled. In many ways, thanks to the internet. Internet gives you an illusion that you have many friends and that you are in the centre of informational whirl. But having 2,000 friends of Facebook doesn't mean that you have at least one real friend. And observing the informational whirl doesn't mean being part of it. You may exchange your thoughts, but you do it via posting and not via personal communication. You need all your friends to know what you think about this or that. But you don't go into deep discussion of the subject. So, people are missing the personal contact with people, which helps making real friends.

Loneliness is Contagious

When you hear the word "contagious", you are most likely think about some disease like HIV or Hepatitis. But loneliness is contagious as well. When you are lonely, you are concerned about your loneliness. As a result you are constantly talking about your loneliness, and thus you are spreading your loneliness further. People start thinking about whether or not they feel lonely, and probably they do, it just didn't occur to them.

It Goes Viral

Millennials are the main victims of the loneliness epidemic. And you can see why. You can do the math on your own. Recall the threads and how contagious is loneliness, and viola – loneliness goes viral, spreading all over the web and turning into real epidemic. People are constantly posting about how lonely they feel, thus making almost anyone reading it feel lonely too. Fighting this epidemic is possible, by starting communicating, at least via personal messages, rather than public posts.

Posted in: General