The impact of the internet on human connection is a complex and debated topic – the feeling of being disconnected is something we discuss with Is This OK? author Harriet Gibsone. On one hand, it has provided unprecedented opportunities for global communication and connectivity. It allows people to connect with others across distances, share ideas, and build online communities. Social media platforms have also made it easier to stay in touch with friends and family, even when physically separated.
However, there are concerns that excessive internet use and reliance on digital communication may lead to a sense of disconnection. Some argue that spending excessive time online can detract from face-to-face interactions and diminish the quality of personal relationships. It is suggested that people may become more focused on virtual interactions, leading to a decline in real-world social skills and a sense of isolation.
Additionally, the internet and social media can contribute to feelings of disconnection and comparison. The carefully curated nature of online profiles and the prevalence of highlight reels may lead to unrealistic expectations and feelings of inadequacy. The constant exposure to other people’s lives and achievements can create a sense of social comparison and loneliness.
Overall, the impact of the internet on human connection is multifaceted. While it has the potential to facilitate connection and bridge distances, it also poses challenges and potential drawbacks that can affect personal relationships and a sense of belonging. It is important for individuals to find a balance in their internet usage and prioritise meaningful, offline interactions.
Does the internet make us more disconnected?
Thanks to the following author for participating:
Former Guardian culture writer Harriet Gibsone began her career as a runner for MTV, before becoming a music journalist in the 2000s, writing for publications such as Q, NME, Time Out and Nylon. She spent eight years as a Guardian staff writer and editor and now has a column for its weekend magazine. Her memoir Is This OK? was published this year.
Other wonderful guests who took part:
UKCP Psychotherapist Mark Vahrmeyer from Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy.
Eric Michelson is the proprietor of Research Tree, which is a social media insights firm that serves commercial clients.
Natasha S. Den Dekker is a British Asian woman in her 30s living in the West Midlands in the UK.
Here are some of the resources from the show:
You might feel aware that the internet makes you feel strangely disconnected from others, but writer and podcaster Emma Gannon feels it makes us disconnect from ourselves too.
Books looked at this week:
Harriet Gibsone: Is This OK?: One Woman’s Search For Connection Online
Emma Gannon: Disconnected: How to Stay Human in an Online World
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