Manufactured Loneliness

Rob Horning on "manufactured loneliness":
[C]apabilities of a particular technology begin to be experienced by users as a kind of compulsion, a command. Because you can text your whereabouts at all times to your friends, you should do so. Because people can be contact you always, when they aren’t, it can begin to feel like a slight. Let’s say you post a comment on a friend’s Facebook status update and they don’t acknowledge it, even though you can see they are online. You shouldn’t take that personally, but I know I would.
Rob concludes that these compulsive displays for attention are indicative of the avoidance of the sorrow one feels when one is alone but doesn't want to be alone. Here's a better answer:  These compulsive displays are indicative of wild narcissism. Those who engage in such behaviors believe that they are deserving of attention, inherently.

Social networks have enabled us to never by lonely. Thus, we are now able to exchange ego strokes with ease. This is healthy and appropriate. However, it is unhealthy when it becomes an expectation that results from the belief that one is owed rather than it being an anticipated byproduct of a friendship.

This is akin to the high school virgin, male or female, who believes that he or she deserves his or her crush because of the time and effort he or she has invested into the emotional isolation and personal longing associated with waiting for the crush to notice him or her. Popular media perpetuates this disturbed notion, which is fine since unrequited love is often sublimated familiar pop music and enjoyable movies.

Unfortunately, unrequited love, or, in this case, unmet "social networking" expectations, can also create confusion, frustration, and actual isolation when one falsely assumes that their ego-stroked and ego-stroking sample is indicative of the social life of the rest of their cohort. This is an unfortunate cascade effect that can only be countered by real and authentic encounters.


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