The Sunday Times Magazine column: I broke my phone and gave IRL a go

 

broken-iphone

There is a beautiful story, lost to the internet, that I read years ago. Late at night a young guy found himself typing into Google “I’m so lonely”. His Google search directed him to a forum on a film-review website, of all places, where he typed again “I’m so lonely”. Someone replied “I’m so lonely too”.

As Google’s algorithm shifted the phrase higher up the ratings, soon anyone typing “I’m so lonely” into the search engine found themselves directed to the forum, where discussions about loneliness grew. People poured out their stories of loneliness in support, connecting.

In the discussion that ensued, some wondered if there wasn’t a certain irony to hundreds of lonely people finding company online, yet in remaining alone.

In the early days of the net, this story made sense. The worldwide web, a tool that promised to bring us together, seemed to have begun isolating us, reducing our interactions to liking status updates. A recent AXA PPP poll found 18- to 24-year-olds four times as likely to feel lonely “most of the time”, compared to those aged 70+. It seems no coincidence that internet use is most prolific among this age group.

READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/article1515588.ece

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