We stumbled upon “Modern Loneliness” by Lauv recently. Lauv called it the most important song of his career when he released it.
We’re never alone, but always depressed, yeah
Love my friends to death
But I never call and I never text, yeah
Yeah, you get what you give and you give what you get, so
We love to get high, but we don’t know how to come down
In an interview that followed the song, Lauv said – “Meanwhile, before all of this [social media] existed – we would just be having conversations in person with one another. You get through the awkwardness and eventually get to know each other, because you’re in front of each other and have no choice – where as now, every relationship you have online is so ‘immediate’ that you don’t experience any of the feelings you should when meeting a new person. Humans are built for real community and connection, and I think we are missing that from our world right now, due to social media…[It’s] not real and human connections. I think that’s why as a generation, we feel so alone all of the time.”
No amount of surfing photos of beautiful landscapes on the internet can replace breathing fresh air amidst a grove of trees or sitting on the grass.
No amount of texting or even video calls can replace the alchemy of meeting in person.
No amount of vitamin supplements can replace the nutrition we get from a good fruit.
As Noah Smith writes in “Honestly, its probably the phone” – an essay about teenage unhappiness:
The first adaptation might just be to consciously prioritize in-person interaction, instead of just waiting for it to happen like we used to. Dan Kois has an excellent article in Slate about Sheila Liming, whose new book Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time provides a much-needed alternative to phone addiction. Perhaps hangouts will go from being something that everyone just naturally did because it was the only way to get human contact to being something that people deliberately carve out time for and put on their calendars.
Another adaptation is probably to take social media less seriously. Twitter isn’t a field of combat where heroes decide the fates of nations — it’s just a silly room where people scream at each other and tell a bunch of lies. You don’t have to look fabulous on Instagram or go viral on TikTok to be cool and have friends. Perhaps Zoomers will realize these truths, and embrace a cheerful detachment that Millennials never managed to achieve.