Going Deep on the Longings Behind the Social Net

In the wake of my report last week on “Social Networking,” I'm still grazing all things Facebook. And with the new Aaron Sorkin film on founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, "The Social Network," due out October 1, there's plenty of food for thought to be had.

So far, my favorite piece is "With Friends Like These," a darned-near poetic essay on the film and the cultural phenomenon by Newsweek culture critic Jeremy McCarter.

In my favorite part of McCarter's meditation cum movie review, he ties the Facebook phenomenon to the existential loneliness so often described by iconic American artists from Hank Williams to Edward Hopper and Bessie Smith.

New as it may be, our obsession with Facebook friends is likely only the current iteration of the long search for an antidote to that loneliness, virtually inescapable in our far-flung and fast-moving nation and century, says McCarter. But the trick, concludes McCarter, is likely not in avoiding loneliness -- as Facebook friending tempts us to struggle to do -- but in using that loneliness to build something more real than virtual friendships: satisfying lives of our own.

Marcia Clemmitt, staff writer, CQ Researcher