The Innovation of Loneliness

This is a great bit of motion graphics and visualization from Shimi Cohen, focusing on how technology and social media may help keep us lonely, even as it’s connecting us together.

I definitely feel that my relationship with social media has changed. I still use Facebook to keep tabs on others, but I shy away from sharing more than blog posts from time to time. That said, I share photos on Instagram a lot… and have started sharing videos on Vine as well.

I think that when I first started the blog, I was heavily into sharing my life – the things I was thinking, the things I was doing. Over time, that’s lessened a bit. A lot of social media stuff (blogs, Facebook, etc) definitely revolves around how we present ourselves to others – and moreso, how we want to present ourselves to others.

In the early years of this blog, I would find myself taking photos at parties in a frantic attempt to document the event. Over time, I realized I was taking myself out of the very thing I was wanting to remember. I want to think I’ve gotten better about such things, but it’s difficult to avoid the pull of social media – wanting to tell everyone Hey, look at what a great time I’m having!.

I’ll be curious to see where social media goes from here. With Twitter at 140 characters and Vine at 6 seconds of video, I’m hard pressed to imagine we’ll want even smaller units of communication. Will there be a push towards longer forms of engagement? Will things like Branch become more popular?

I’ve tried to be more conscious of when I actually pull out my phone, most days. A lot of the time, it’s an involuntary reaction – a reflexive thing that I just do whenever there’s a lull of more than 5 seconds. I’ve noticed myself doing so around family and friends, and when I do catch myself… I try to put the phone away.

I don’t know if it’ll get better or worse. In terms of how I feel, I’d still say it’s a mix: social media makes me feel both connected and lonely, and there’s a small part of me that really likes that sensation.

// Edit: The animation was inspired in part by Sherry Turkle, whose work I haven’t read… but I’ve seen a few of her videos.

Thanks for the link, Juliet!

Related:
The Nicest Place on the Internet: Hugs From People You’ve Never Met
Eating Alone
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

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