Research assistance was provided to the University by Facebook, which shared data from the supposedly private Facebook group “Facebook makes me want to kill myself.”
Some three-fourths of Americans are lonely, according to a new study released by UCSD and published in International Psychogeriatrics. That’s up from the high of 57 percent found in previous studies, the most recent of which was conducted in 2004 — which, incidentally, was the same year that the social media site Facebook was founded. Also incidentally, that 75% shows what the study calls “a curious, even suspicious overlap” with the percentage of Americans who have accounts on Facebook: 68%.
“It’s strange,” says UCSD Professor of Observations Bob Vious. “Facebook is a wonderful tool for people to enhance their social lives; it puts them in touch with people they might not have met otherwise, or people they might have otherwise lost touch with, or people they saw regularly but never knew shared an interest in extreme body modification. It frees people from the occasional awkwardness and frequent logistical difficulty of a social life that requires them to leave their homes. And yet we find that loneliness has somehow increased dramatically since its invention. Clearly, this is a matter that requires further study.”