Refinery 29 Asks: Can Tech Cure Your Loneliness?
Tabi Jackson Gee tackled the issue of social media and loneliness in an article, out today, for Refinery29 UK. And she interviewed our host! Gee wrote:
Julia Bainbridge, the founder of hit podcast The Lonely Hour, is sceptical about the ways technology connects us. “It’s a Band-Aid solution,” she tells us over email. “We need to think about the root of this growing sense of loneliness we seem to be experiencing, and tackle it there.” The way Julia sees it, we’re clinging to digital interactions because something else is missing. “Skype and FaceTime and the like have been developed to reestablish connection,” she says, “because we live in a world in which much of it has been lost.”
Bainbridge cites the psychologists who warn that loneliness could be the next major health issue. Professor Sydney Engelberg, an Israeli psychology professor who became an internet sensation in 2015 for picking up his student’s crying baby during class, appears to be one of them. “There is an increasing body of research showing that communication and interaction via technology cannot substitute for meaningful face-to-face communication and interaction,” he says. “As a consequence we are finding reports of an epidemic of loneliness sweeping through the industrialised world.”
The Oxford English dictionary defines loneliness as "sadness because one has no friends or company." But really, that seems like a limited definition of a very overpowering feeling. I asked Julia how she defined it personally. “Alone-ness is a state of being alone; loneliness refers to the sadness over that state,” she said. “So I would say loneliness is most definitely a feeling and not a situation.”