Loneliness is believed to be the worst misery that humanity has ever had to suffer. Although loneliness was once considered an inner devil that gradually and cataclysmically corrupted the elderly’s soul, the misery is now spreading its negativity on an unprecedentedly large scale. Loneliness is now creeping into the heart of even young people. In a recent study, loneliness is believed to be a greater concern among young people than elderly (Griffin, 2010). In the same study, it was found that people with ages ranging from 18 – 34 were more likely to feel depressed due to loneliness than the over 55s (Griffin, 2010). Loneliness deludes people in feeling that they were helpless and powerless while in fact, they can find many ways to deal with their miserable situation. In the past, people had their own way to overcome their vulnerable stage induced by loneliness by the help of a Higher Being. People who feel lonely are more likely to believe in supernatural, whether that is God, angels or miracles. (Thompson, 2008). Nonetheless, religion is not the only way to successfully, as it may be said to be so, fight against the devil of loneliness. Along with the advancement that information technology nowadays has achieved, people can go online, creating their own blogs to make their story told, their voice heard and subsequently soothing their endurance from loneliness. In this expository research paper, my purpose is to show that blogs or weblogs play an important role in the lives of isolated people by providing information, building a community and last but not least, offering a free space for self-expression.
Firstly, blog helps the isolated people by providing them with information that they are craving for. Loneliness is sometimes regarded as a mental illness since it is linked to increased stress, depression, paranoia, anxiety, addiction, cognitive decline and is known a factor for suicide (Gil, 2014). As a result, young adults who seem to have that sort of mental-related symptoms have tendencies to not reveal their feeling since they feel ashamed, scared and uncertain about receiving the mental healthcare, or even worse, they desperately consider themselves as a loser and think that they are deserved to suffer because of their worthlessness (Eysenbach, et al., 2012). This is when blogs jump in to help the young adults who are in this misery by providing them with health information that they need. Thanks to the anonymity of the blogs, young people can easily overcome their deeply rooted concern of sharing their health condition without being worried about being known by the other. In addition, bloggers who feel isolated and lonely perceive the blogging practice as a constructive environment for discussing their mental health condition since they can seek for other bloggers’ sympathy who may share the same feeling and concerns (Eysenbach, et al., 2012). In fact, not only do people with isolation problem crave for online health information but normal people like us are also more likely to go online before asking for help from a physician (Eysenbach, et al., 2012). As such, blog is actually doing some effective help to empower isolated people by providing information that they are craving for.
Secondly, blogging is an effective practice in helping lonely people by building an arguably constructive community and consequently enlarging their circle of social connections. In his recent work, Hollenbaugh (2011) has offered an idea that one of seven motives explaining why people are maintaining their personal blogs is social connection. Additionally, agreeing with Hollenbaugh’s work, Merchant (2009) celebrates the fact that one of four key engagement in the blogsphere is social participation. This means that blogs allow people to comment on others’ posts or share those post as well. Due to this distinctiveness of blogs, isolated people are actually building their online community and having a virtual social connections with strangers by expressing opinions and sharing ideas. As a result, the pratice of sharing and interacting with other people, albeit virtually, can lessen the harsh feeling of emotional solitude. Not only is blogging effective in helping emotionally isolated people, but the practise also enables geographically isolated students to connect with their peers while engaging them in generative and authentic activities (Adlington, 2014). Due to this two-way interaction and engagement, students in rural area or geographically isolated locations are now able to reflect, collaborate and interact with their peers through the mean of posts and text-based responses (Adlington, 2014). By engaging in commenting and sharing on posts, those isolated people, both emotionally and geographically, seem to be on a right track of building their own virtual community. Besides, Backer and Fortune (2008) found that online self-harm or suicide communities are constantly providing emotional support, valuable information and precious friendship for isolated individuals. Nevertheless, as harsh as it sounds, the information provided by online suicidal may not always positive. Weibo (a Chinnese social network) users who are at greater suicide risk are more likely to talk about suicide on Weibo (Qijin, et al., 2015). Those Weibo users who are the member of a community referred as Weibo Suicide Communication are believed to be nagatively affected by that commnuity and advised to have emotional support and suicide prevention actions from professional services (Qijin, et al., 2015). Having said that, blogs are still an effective tool that can empower the isolated by building them a community.
Last but not even least, blogs provide solitary people with a comfortable space for self-expression. In their recent work, (Jung, et al., 2012) observe that people post their personal stories and pictures willingly, knowing that anyone, not only their family members and close friends can have access to their online post despite the fact that those stories and photos often involve private matter. The research clearly indicates that blogs allow their voice to be heard and their stories to be told to the whole world. In addition, in a study on emotional loneliness and social isolation, it is advised that the ability of an isolated individual to reflect her own expectations and inner feeling of loneliness can reduce the adverse effect of isolation (Routasalo, et al., 2006). Despite its positive impact on the life of isolated people by providing a space for self-reflections, the over-freedom without any moral restraint of blogs may put mental and physical health of people who abuse the freedom to speak of blogging in danger. As an illustration, Amos Yee makes himself notorious after posting video that got offensive remark about the late Lee Kwan Yew on his YouTube channel (Hussain, 2015). As a result, he was sentenced to imprisonment because of indifferent actions, and sadly, he was being even more alienated by other people, which may even worsen his misery (Hussain, 2015).
In conclusion, blogs play an important role in the life of isolate people by providing information, building community and offering a space for self-expression. While blogs are effective in providing information that isolated people are craving for and in helping to build a virtual community for both emotionally and geographically isolated individuals, some information delivered by the blogs may be fatal for those isolated users. Last but not least, blogs offer an enormous space for self-expression; but too much of freedom may lead to adverse consequence. Overall, I strongly believe that no one is deserved to be lonely. In addition, people should never be over-dependent on blogs in dealing with their condition but they should seek for professional services to deal with the hardship of loneliness and isolation.
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