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Facebook: a tool for interaction that breeds loneliness?

Facebook: a tool for interaction that breeds loneliness?


Do the seemingly limitless interaction opportunities provided by social networks like Facebook make us lonelier? It seems contradictory at first, but as Facebook has grown to over 800,000 active monthly users it's a question that has certainly been floated more than once.

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Do the seemingly limitless interaction opportunities provided by social networks like Facebook make us lonelier? It seems contradictory at first, but as Facebook has grown to over 800,000,000 active monthly users, it's a question that has certainly been floated more than once. The Atlantic has just published an in-depth report on the subject that starts with explaining how loneliness has become an epidemic, with more Americans than ever living alone (27 percent) and a staggering 25 percent of Americans in 2010 saying they have no one to confide in — an increase from 10 percent in 1985.

"We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information."

How is Facebook contributing to this increase? Well, it would appear that the oversharing facilitated by the service stands at the heart of the matter. Products like "frictionless sharing" that pump out a constant stream of your daily actions result in users having nearly no downtime. As argued in The Atlantic, people are now constantly concerned about outward appearances and relentlessly bombarded with information on those around them. It's almost like a competition.

"People are bringing their old friends, and feelings of loneliness or connectedness, to Facebook."

However, if the way people used Facebook changed, they might get more out of the service. If people used the internet as the new medium to communicate with friends instead of bringing in old memories (usage that's encouraged by the new Timeline), it's clear that Facebook could reduce loneliness. Whether or not you agree with this analysis is another matter altogether, but the suggestion is that as we continue to adapt to the communication methods provided by Facebook, we'll learn how to properly integrate it into our lives and strike whatever balance is necessary.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

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Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.

The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.

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If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.

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Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.