This morning a Facebook friend of mine share a link to an article by Daniel Gulati in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Facebook Is Making Us Miserable.” Delighted with the obvious irony of learning about the article through the tool it critiques, I gave it a quick read. I would recommend it to you as well.
I found the article interesting and the implications more so. Clearly Facebook can broaden our connections with others, as evidenced by the fact that a friend from Israel shared the article with this Indiana boy and inspired comments from locations far and wide. And I will say I try to avoid the trap of thinking that anyone or anything can “make” us miserable — we do that all by ourselves!
Those two things aside, the article resonated with me. While Facebook has broadened our connections, has it deepened them? I’m not sure.
More than Facebook specifically, it strikes me that the author is really commenting on the slow blending of our personal and professional lives — inexorably we’re moving to a place where our separate circles are not separate, where there is no distinction between different spheres, and, perhaps most sadly, where we feel compelled to share in order to stay connected.
Perhaps technology is not the culprit and these are human dynamics in any day and age — if you want social connections you have to be social, and the more you are the latter, the more you have of the former. It could be that we simply need to get over ourselves.
At the same time, something tells me that the game is changing. Not only are the rules different, but we’re on an entirely different field — one on which we’re all kind of muddling around looking for friendship and intimacy by broadcasting our lives, nonstop, over our own heads. Only no one can hear us, because we’ve each drowned out the rest of the players with our own megaphone. The louder we yell for connection, the harder it is to hear everyone else yelling too…