Loneliness and Online Communities
This post is actually a response to one on LinkedIn about Online Communities. The text of which is pasted below:
How online communities are changing our world 💻 🌎
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in online communities to help make us feel more connected to one another.
Online communities are being joined at a rapid rate with people participating in blogs and forums, with community types ranging from everything and anything.
Businesses are also utilising the online community space, to keep track of consumers’ changing expectations, help consumers feel involved, and ultimately deepen the brand-consumer relationship.
Lots of traditional businesses have become fully remote, and their internal teams stay connected through their own built online communities.
They have allowed people to find a sense of belonging in the digital world whilst encouraging meaningful and respectful conversations.
Those in generations X and Y will have been born into the era but for a lot of us out there it’s a new world that we’ve had to learn!
As evolution continues, these online communities aren’t going away and are only getting stronger so we need to gear up for a fully digitalised world.
What do you think of our spaces becoming more digitalised?
I appreciate the post and its insights, but I find myself grappling with a fundamental issue. As someone who enjoys participating in online communities, I am struck by the sense of camaraderie and support that exists among members. However, as a Gen X'er who has experienced both analogue and digital eras, I also value the nuanced communication that happens during in-person interactions.
While I love the opportunities to learn and connect through online channels, I believe that the best interactions happen when they are organic and naturally blend both online and offline communication. Therefore, I make an effort to meet people in person and to engage with them meaningfully.
Nevertheless, I recognise that not everyone shares my perspective. Indeed, I worry about the growing sense of loneliness that is becoming increasingly common in our highly connected world. ONS data from 2020 showed that young adults between 18 and 24 years old reported the highest incidence of loneliness, despite being part of the most "connected" demographic.
While digital detox and addiction are the extremes, there are other ways to achieve this balance. To address this challenge, I believe we need to pay greater attention to our digital wellness. We should strive for a state of flourishing that balances our online and offline interactions.
In summary, my concern lies around the health implications of loneliness in our highly connected world. By prioritising our digital wellness and finding ways to engage meaningfully both online and offline, we can work towards a more fulfilling and balanced life.