I’ve recently been quite interested in the intersection between Facebook, loneliness, local community and our sense of place and identity. I wanted to curate a few of the resources that have been helping me navigate this topic of utmost importance. A lot of us are allured by Facebook and, if you are anything like me, your free time has shrunk as a result. These articles suggest there is more to be wary of about Facebook beyond the privacy settings and information sharing. Our very sense of friendship and community are being re-defined as a consequence of on our use of social media.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? (The Atlantic)
This article surveys our national epidemic of loneliness, observing the drastic increase in counselors (“professional carers”), the average person’s surplus of “friends” but lack of confidants and categorizing this plague is a by-product of our American appetite for independence. After setting the premise that we are lonely because we, in some sense, want to be lonely, The Atlantic asks the question: Does the Internet make people lonely, or are lonely people more attracted to the internet?

The nuanced answer the reader receives is certainly welcome. Instead of reverting into sentimentality or nostalgia, the article  makes distinctions between passive and active use of these tools and investigates what the symptoms of each seem to be. Depression and the pursuit of happiness are also touched upon, as well as narcissism, exhibitionism and humility. Terrific read that also directs one to additional resources for the exploration.

Feeling Lonely in an Age of Constant Connection (Veritas Mizzou)
This post points us to a TED talk given by Susan Turkle called “Connected, but alone?” I really like Patrick’s highlight at the end of this short post:

 As Christians this TED talk should point us to several timeless truths of our faith. 1) We must disconnect and meditate on God’s word regularly – that is the self-knowledge the Bible calls us to. 2) The human longing for continual connection can only be met by God’s Spirit, not Facebook. 3) As Christians we must offer people true friendships – not shallow, digital, disconnected disfigurations of friendship.

Technology Eroding Our Sense of Community (The Birmingham News)
This op-ed piece based on an interview with Wendell Berry, sheds light on his take on technology and how it erodes our sense of place. The reporter, Martin Swant, speaks out of his own experiences and ponders how best to remain intentional and present in an age that is firmly entrenched in technology.

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