“All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong?” – The Beatles, Eleanor Rigby
Eleanor Rigby spent her lonely days at a church back in 1966. In 2012 she would hang out at a coffee shop, staring at her laptop, pretending to be busy. She’d go there to be around people, but play with herself instead. Later at home, she’d be trolling forums and leaving witty comments no one will ever read. On the train, she’d be reading the 6th version of the same syndicated news story on yet another news app. At the office, she would get automated happy-birthday emails from some Facebook app and feel loved for a brief moment. She would count her virtual friends and pretend to be popular. At home again she would upload a video to YouTube, wishing silently for her 15 seconds of fame. Later, she would get pseudo-intimate with a person from the Ukraine on some shady site.
But there’s a reason for doing all that. We are cleverly talked into working for social advertising companies, busy work designed to make us reveal more about ourselves so they can bombard us with ever-more-targeted-yet-increasingly-annoying ads. We are more connected yet lonelier than ever. Social media is all about sharing. Sharing what? sharing our loneliness. Hey, look at that cute video I found! well guess what, I found it because I was lonely and had no one to connect with in real life. And now I’m sending it to you, so you’ll feel a little less lonely too. We’ll be best friends for 30 seconds, and when the video is done playing go back to ignoring each other until the next link bait comes along. That’s freaking awesome.
“They’re sharing a drink they call loneliness But it’s better than drinking alone” – Billy Joel, Piano Man