John Larsen, '22

Alone Together: Technology's Impact on Social Isolation

Have you recently found yourself spending increasing time scrolling through Instagram, venting your frustrations on Twitter, or spending seemingly endless hours in Zoom meetings? If so, you are among the 51% of Americans who reported increased social media usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet this statistic does not explain the diversity of social media users in 2020. Ranging from technologically savvy Millennials to newly converted elderly populations, social media platforms attracted users of all ages to potentially combat loneliness. My project will provide a space for folks to share their experiences during the quarantine, including their experiences with technology. How have their lives changed, and has technology left them feeling more marginalized or more connected? Understanding the interplay between technology, isolation, and the community will allow future historians to understand the complicated social dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic and hopefully draw attention to the stories of those whose experiences are less visible, particularly in a social media environment, and might otherwise go unheard.