Technology has a tendency to isolate us from the world around us, sometimes causing more harm than good. Social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace have created incredibly deep and personal relationships. People build extremely close and personal relationships with the people they “know” on these sites. In doing so, these same people become isolated from the rest of the world. Is technology really making us more alone? Or do we just need to take a step back and learn to be alone in order to find true happiness in our personal and professional lives?
The fact of the matter is that loneliness can cause all sorts of different psychological problems. When a person becomes isolated from the rest of the world, he or she begins to question his or her existence. He or she starts to believe that there is no point in even trying to meet new people because no one will ever be like them. Does technology really make us more lonely?
Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding yes. Yes, technology has indeed made us more lonely. In fact, the recent news stories about the difficulties people are having meeting people at work and even in their own neighborhoods is a clear demonstration of this. In some parts of the country, there is actually a growing loneliness epidemic. Some cities are experiencing an increase in the number of newly divorced individuals as well as the high number of single individuals looking for love and companionship on the Internet.
One thing we should all be aware of, however, is that technology can never make someone feel more lonely than the person who is trying to keep up his or her social life. In-person contact is often what keeps people connected to others. Keeping in touch via regular phone calls, in-person classes, group activities, and shared events, such as concerts and movies, helps relieve the isolation of being on your own. A person who is constantly looking for interaction will always feel lonely, while a person who goes out and spends time with friends is less isolated and likely to feel lonely when those friends leave.
In addition, technological advancements do not always mean more loneliness for the individual. There are plenty of ways in which people can still stay connected with each other even when they are working away from home on their laptops. There are also plenty of online socializing options that don’t require leaving the house. Just a few years ago, it would have been impossible for many of us to meet our neighbors or friends online; today, that has become the norm.
So does technology make us more lonely when we are left behind at work? Not necessarily. There are plenty of ways that people can connect with each other even when they are on the road or away from their home. Many companies are now encouraging workers to take advantage of company emails and instant messaging services. These communication tools allow colleagues who may be thousands of miles apart to connect with one another on a daily basis.
But even if there are no face-to-face interactions in the workplace, technology does make us more lonely if we spend most of our day at a computer. Since most of us spend so much time at our desk working on our computers, our minds and hearts usually get preoccupied with other tasks, which, while they might otherwise be fun, become drudgery. When our attention is divided between different things, it can lead to stress and eventual loneliness.
It’s true that we might feel lonely sometimes, especially if we are away from the people we love. But the invention of collaborative software and other electronic devices has enabled remote employees to stay in touch with their bosses in a more efficient manner. Workplace collaboration software makes it possible for people in distant locations to work together remotely via instant messaging or email, which is a form of virtual friendship. Since technology enables us to stay connected with each other, it makes us more lonely at the workplace, if we allow ourselves to go there without connecting with other colleagues.