No, Facebook Isn't Creating a Nation of Lonely Souls

Slate essayist disagrees with cover story in 'Atlantic'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2012 7:01 PM CDT
An Atlantic article thinks Facebook is making us all lonely, but a Slate essayist disagrees.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The Atlantic's cover story is a much-discussed piece by novelist Stephen Marche, who concludes that Americans in the age of Facebook "have never been more detached from one another, or lonelier." It's strong stuff, but it's just the latest entry in a long list of articles and books on the theme that are "built on fables and fantasies," writes Eric Klinenberg at Slate. There's "zero evidence" to support Marche's claim that Facebook in particular and social networking in general are producing a "new isolation."

Klinenberg talks to some of the same experts whose work Marche draws from—in fact, Klinenberg's own book, Going Solo, is quoted—and finds disagreement with the premise that Americans have never been lonelier. "I would not say never," says one of them, University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo. "The evidence for it increasing recently is mixed." Klinenberg goes much further, calling Marche "isolated from reality" with his argument. See for yourself: Read Marche's article here and Klinenberg's takedown here.

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