Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Loneliest Generation: Douglas Battista on Social Media’s Influence on Social Connectivity

Feelings of isolation and exclusion can affect a person as much as physical pain, say researchers. Many experts have found a correlation between loneliness and health concerns that far outweigh obesity or smoking. Douglas Battista spent the early part of his career in human resources and says being socially isolated can affect a person’s job performance as well.
Loneliness, an emerging concern
According to Douglas Battista, loneliness is a problem exacerbated by modern life. But why? Many believe the changes in contemporary society where nuclear families are the norm and people often live long distances from extended family and friends is part of the problem. Others cite social media as the primary cause of loneliness, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Social media perpetuates isolation
Loneliness is not experiencing a lack of physical or social interactions, says Douglas Battista. It is more closely linked to a person’s perception of their interpersonal relationships. Sites like Facebook and Twitter may have done more harm to the human psyche than good. While modern technology makes the act of communication easier, it has also created a culture where impersonal interactions are the norm. This, notes Douglas Battista, often leaves people feeling unsatisfied in their relationships.
Other causes of loneliness
Social media is not the only cultivator of internal isolation. Constant relocations for jobs and educational opportunities, the loss of a loved one, the birth of a child, and leaving home for college can also heighten a sense of loneliness. However, people in these situations often tend to forge social bonds with others in the same proverbial boat. Social media-derived loneliness, reports Douglas Battista, is a more chronic form of isolation that many people mistakenly believe can be resolved with, ironically, more social media interaction.
Battista is a strong believer in face-to-face connections. He says that forging physical relationships with people is one of the only ways to combat loneliness and its related mental and physical health issues.