An Inkling of Friendship in a Smartphone World
by Dan Cruver

In a January 17th article for Bloomberg.com titled, The World Depends on You Throwing a Party, Ben Steverman argues that although humanity is more connected than ever, we are also lonelier than we’ve ever been. Steverman’s article begins with two short and arresting sentences:

“You should host a party. Our civilization depends on it.”

I don’t know about you, but after reading those two opening sentences, I knew exactly what I would be doing for the next 20 minutes: figuring out how to host a party (which is supposed to be enjoyable!) under that kind of post-apocalyptic pressure. The demand to “Host a party, enjoy it…or die” hardly inspires what it demands!

But instead of giving in to the fear of dyscatastrophe, I decided to read Steverman’s article for however long it would take me to do so.

After giving evidence that he’s not the only one thus concerned, Steverman writes, “The biggest reason things have changed? ‘The internet,’ says Julia Bainbridge, creator and host of the popular podcast The Lonely Hour. ‘Yes, it can alleviate loneliness—social connectivity with a click!—but that’s only a temporary form of self-soothing.’ Our innate desire for community and connection is why we rushed onto social media in the first place. We friended, shared, liked, argued. The smartphone let us reach anyone at any time.”

So, to “save our civilization,” what are we to do in a world where the internet and smartphone are here to stay? Are we doomed for catastrophe?

 

Can Friendship be a Eucatastrophe in a Smartphone World?

Steverman recommends that we host a party in order to save civilization, in order to avoid the dyscatastrophe of becoming utterly “exhausted and unhappy when [we] spend too much time on [our] screens” (Sociologist Eric Klinenberg as quoted by Steverman).

But what if the answer lies a bit deeper than just hosting a party?

. . .

 

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