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Alone in a Cloud

UCSD uncovers possible link between social media and unsocial living

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.”

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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.”
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.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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