William Deresiewicz has an interesting essay about “The End of Solitude” (in our fast-paced, hyper-networked digital world) in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Section: The Chronicle Review Volume 55, Issue 21, Page B6. You can find it online at http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i21/21b00601.htm
Here is a sampling:
“Ten years ago we were writing e-mail messages on desktop computers and transmitting them over dial-up connections. Now we are sending text messages on our cellphones, posting pictures on our Facebook pages, and following complete strangers on Twitter. A constant stream of mediated contact, virtual, notional, or simulated, keeps us wired in to the electronic hive — though contact, or at least two-way contact, seems increasingly beside the point. The goal now, it seems, is simply to become known, to turn oneself into a sort of miniature celebrity. How many friends do I have on Facebook? How many people are reading my blog? How many Google hits does my name generate? Visibility secures our self-esteem, becoming a substitute, twice removed, for genuine connection. Not long ago, it was easy to feel lonely. Now, it is impossible to be alone.”
By the way, I love solitude.