The concept of loneliness on the internet is widely accepted. Loneliness, period, is clickbait. Editors and writers are susceptible to studies on loneliness. Editor to reporter: “Write a piece on loneliness on the internet. Check out the University of Blah study. Good stuff!”
We all want to be happy, we all want loads of friends, we all socialize with our dysfunctional families, and everyone is terrified of solitude except Thoreau.
Yet when I read these articles on loneliness I am incredulous. The studies conclude that people are anxious and lonely because they don’t get enough likes, because their lives are less exciting than their rivals’ on Facebook, and they don’t look charming enough in filtered selfies.
IIn short, we are a nation in crisis. The lonely ones are so depressed by the lack of likes on social media or by not resembling Taylor Swift or Nicole Kidman that they will end up in the looney bin for as long as their insurance will cover it. There they will be expected to sand and paint ceramic animals in crafts (a cheap form of art therapy).
You know what I say: Turn off your like button! Turn off your filters! Get off YouTube immediately! Don’t even try to look like Taylor Swift!
The odd thing is that the writers of the articles on loneliness never indicate the affirmation of the act of writing, which is surely part of the motivation to post. Of course we write alone, but it doesn’t feel lonely: it is an affirmation of our flights of fancy, a stimulation or simulation of happiness. It forms an intuitive connection between our hands, our keyboards and our flow of words.
And the studies may be biased. How is the control group chosen? We don’t know. An acquaintance once participated in a study by a famous sociologist. She claims that she and her friends mischievously lied to the researchers, because the questions were so absurd, so obviously based on the assumption that women are wispy and delicate. The resulting book based on the study was considered profound.
All I can say is everyone loves clickbait.