Is the Internet Making Us Lonelier or Less Lonely? Yes

Photograph by Richard Newstead/Getty Images

We have recently seen a rash of essays and articles in the mainstream press that take a somewhat scare-mongering tone toward social networks and digital communication of various kinds: A piece in the Atlantic raises the question as to whether Facebook is making us lonely, and a New York Times op-ed by MIT professor Sherry Turkle a few days ago argues that all the texting and social-media usage we’re engaging in is bad for us as a society because it prevents us from having “real” conversations and connecting with other human beings. Is this a real problem or just another example of how new technologies often get blamed for behavior that existed long before they were invented?

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