Attack of the 50 Foot Woman movie poster

Dying of Loneliness on Facebook

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman star died at 82 completely alone: Mummified body of former Playboy playmate Yvette Vickers found in her Benedict Canyon home:

With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship. Savage later told Los Angeles magazine that she had searched Vickers’s phone bills for clues about the life that led to such an end. In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and Internet sites.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman movie posterA great book about the breakdown of American community is Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. The author provides an interesting analysis about U.S. society during the last century and last 50 years. Of course this has implications for marketing. Putnam examines the causes and effects of the fact that in the 1950s, bowling leagues, PTAs, church groups, and general neighborly interaction was very popular, while nowadays we spend a fraction of the time we used to spend socializing (and voting or participating in community).

Vickers is not the first elderly person to pass away unnoticed.

But a less dramatic form of loneliness pervades people of all ages; it is disguised as complete connectedness.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? New research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.

Urban sprawl, longer solo commutes, and more free time spent being entertained by technology rather than our peers all contribute. Facebook is a huge factor. It has redefined social and interpersonal expectations. The radical shift that 24/7 interconnectivity has introduced to society far outweighs the change that accompanied newfound communication channels presented by the invention of the telephone or even the early Michael Douglas cell phone. This digital trend with a famous playmate really dying of a lonely heart is a giant shove forward in the trajectory on which we had been merely strolling until recently.

Do you feel lonelier than ever? If not, check Facebook (I recommend viewing photos of your frenemies).

This song captures my sentiment beautifully: “The Veldt” by deadmau5 featuring Chris James:

Happy life with the machines scattered around the room.
Look what they made; they made it for me… happy technology!
Outside the Lions roam feeding on remains…
We’ll never leave, look at us now;
So in love with the way we are here!

  • I am a serious introvert…Facebook is a godsend to me, honestly. I couldn’t keep track of my friends without it, nor keep in touch with them. That being said, I do get lonely from time to time, but that’s probably because I should get out more instead of work, lol. 

    • You said “keep track of my friends.” What’s interesting about this phrase is that it has taken on a new meaning in the last decade. It used to mean having a general handle on what your friends are up to in their lives – where they live, where they work. Now it means actually tracking them in their day to day lives with Facebook and foursquare, just to name two. We expect to have this level of surveillance on our friends complete with visuals and status updates that previously we’d actually have to be in touch on a personal basis to receive. We do get to track much more with Facebook. But I think there is a false sense of whether this means we are truly up to date on their lives. We’re too busy or lazy to actually call and email fifty people on a weekly basis. So we have a greater number of (mostly) less meaningful but more information-rich friendships.

      • I actually don’t go THAT far, lol. I usually just chat with people and comment on their stuff. I also find most people don’t seem to enjoy phone calls like they used to back in the day. 

        • “Facebook is the lowest, followed by GChat, then texting, then e-mail, then phone. Face-to-face is of course ideal, but it’s not of this time.” -Marnie on HBO’s Girls explaining that Hannah needs to rise up the “totem of communication.” Phone has become more of an effort, I agree. Some of my friends actually feel violated or annoyed by receiving phone calls, and especially voicemails – a hassle to check… Personally, I am tired of typing all day and would rather talk sometimes.

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  • GarrJak

    Whoa!  Seriously, how could one lose track of a 50ft woman? In all honesty, this is really sad. Facebook has taken the place of what one would consider normal socialization for some over that last, say five, years.  However, I do feel that FB does not necessarily change people, but amplifies personality traits that already exist.  If you are an introvert, FB is like an open bar to an alcoholic.  Online gaming is the same way for kids who would not normally go outside and play sports.  Most people use it as a tool for communication, and others use it as an escape.  It doesn’t change one, as much as it enables traits that already exist IMHO.
    Great blog BTW.  Enjoy reading it.