THE RAPID development of technology usually leaves people no choice but to embrace the digital age. But it is also important to note what we sacrifice in the process.

A professor showed our class a motion graphic video titled “The Innovation of Loneliness,” which tackles loneliness as one effect of social media. It is said that man is a social animal and needs to be in a group for survival.

Today, however, the world seems driven by individualism. There is that inevitable pressure to stand out to have a better life, be on top of the social ladder, gain personal achievements, wealth, etc.

Then came social media, creating an avenue for people to express themselves to stay “connected” with others. It may seem to be a good idea to be connected with people living far away but the truth is we are being disconnected more than ever.

The things we post online are “scripted” and adjusted to improve our image in an instant, things we can never do in real life. But as a result, we become lonely because in the end nobody knows who we really are and we are isolated from genuine human interaction.

It may seem a good idea, to be connected with hundreds of people living thousands of kilometers away, but the truth behind this is we are disconnected from each other. The information we put up on the online are merely scripted and adjusted to improve ourselves in an instant, which we can never do in real time. We become lonely because in the end nobody knows who we really are. We isolate ourselves from real human interaction.

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We create our own loneliness in the simplest things. For one, it’s nice to have hundreds or thousands of your “friends” on Facebook to greet you online on your birthday. But at the end of the day, these greetings from strangers have no value compared with a simple call or personal greetings from relatives and close friends. A warm hug beats virtual pokes anytime. Food is better shared together, compared with sharing images of the food online. And it is always better to talk to a person rather than posting a status update of our sad problems, which none of our virtual friends really cares about.

We seek to improve our virtual selves first than our real selves. And the more we do, the less we become human and the more we become lonely.

Most people today are guilty of this. It is important to note that there’s nothing wrong with connecting online, but people should know the limits—there are times when we need to plug out and do human activities.

This digital age has given us the opportunity to interact more with people. But it is not a a substitute for the real thing.


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