Loneliness In An Age Of Connection

Posted by on Sep 27, 2017 in ComLead, Integrated Marketing Communication, Organizational Leadership

LinkedIn just recently posted an article published by the Harvard Business Review on loneliness in today’s technological age and it had some interesting points. We live in the most socially connected era in history yet studies have shown that rates of loneliness have doubled since the 80’s.

According to the former US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, loneliness can be found in the background of many clinical diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, dementia, depression, and anxiety. It can also have a negative impact on your work performance by heightening the body’s stress levels and impairing the brain’s executive functioning.

With technology’s ability to keep us connected no matter the distance, the rates of people living alone are higher than ever. In addition, face to face confrontation is not always necessary nor is phone conversations. Many work related conversations, interviews included, are managed via email.

What came to mind while reading the article was also the idea of FOMO or “Fear of Missing Out” which is an extremely common feeling in the age of social media. The most well-known definition of this is “the anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website”.

The fact that we can keep up with distant friends via their social media accounts makes us feel like we are closer to those people than we actually are. But it can also increase our anxiety in instances where we see friends together without us in pictures or posts online. Many people even report that they feel like they need to check their different accounts before they fall asleep because they want to review what everyone else did that day to see what they had missed. The best thing that we can do is try to keep our social connections strong, even in work environments. It is not too hard to speak to a coworker rather than send them an email, and sometimes a proper phone conversation can be more fulfilling than just keeping tabs on our friends’ Facebook posts.

Devon Bradley, M.S. Communication & Leadership ’19

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