Jeffrey Rosen in the NYTimes reports on the effects social networking will have on our efforts to redefine ourselves:
It’s often said that we live in a permissive era, one with infinite second chances. But the truth is that for a great many people, the permanent memory bank of the Web increasingly means there are no second chances — no opportunities to escape a scarlet letter in your digital past. Now the worst thing you’ve done is often the first thing everyone knows about you.
Tom Meltzer in the Guardian reports on the strange paradox of loneliness among the most connected generation seemingly ever:
This is not just a teenage problem. In May, the Mental Health Foundation released a report called The Lonely Society? Its survey found that 53% of 18-34-year-olds had felt depressed because of loneliness, compared with just 32% of people over 55. The question of why was, in part, answered by another of the report’s findings: nearly a third of young people said they spent too much time communicating online and not enough in person.
In a YouGov poll published by Samaritans last December, 21% of young people aged 18-24 identified loneliness as one of their major concerns. Young people worried more than any other age group about feeling alone, being single, about the quality of their relationships with friends and family. Such figures have led newspapers to dub us the “Eleanor Rigby generation”; better connected than any in history, yet strangely alone.