Alone, but not lonely.
Tech made us lonely. Now, it’s trying to fix it.
Wisdo Health raised an additional $5M in a Series A extension from Marius Nacht (one of the founding fathers of Israel's cybersecurity industry), Alive Israel Healthtech Fund, Bridge Builders Collaborative, Anne Wojcicki (CEO of 23andMe), and Avram Miller (co-founder of Intel Capital ). The fresh capital closes the $11M A round. Wisdo Health is a startup using data models to combat loneliness and social isolation with evidence-based peer support and a benefits navigation platform.
Users can join communities anonymously, track their health journey and habits, connect with peers and helpers in a moderated setting, join groups to improve skills like socializing and resilience, and monitor their progress. If needed, they can be introduced to clinical or Social Determinants of Health services available through a health plan, employer, or community.
According to a 2017 study, people who spent more than 2 hours a day on social media "... had twice the odds of perceived social isolation than those who said they spent a half hour per day or less on those sites."
People who visited social media platforms 58 times a week or more "...had more than three times the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week."
Will loneliness increase with social media use, or will society adapt?
Ironically, some big names in the tech world behind products and platforms that make us feel lonely have taken a "Think Week," including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs. (Here is more on Bill Gates’ experience). The annual or bi-annual solo retreat is intended to lower the volume of daily life and recharge our thinking and creativity. I enjoy being alone, in complete control of my own time. I get my best work done all by myself from hotel lobbies and cafes, but someday I want to take a solo Think Week in insolation without any distractions.
Before Bill Gates and Think Weeks, American essayist Henry David Thoreau published Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, detailing his time away from civilization as he lived in a self-built cabin in Massachusetts.
“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation unless it was quite necessary.”
Maybe learning to be alone without getting lonely is a key to making the most out of any situation.
If you’re interested in reading more on the topic, check out The Atlantic from earlier this month: How We Learned to Be Lonely.
Do I spend a lot of time alone? Yes. Am I lonely? No.
I’m the oldest sibling from a big family who always lived in a house a bit too small. I remember craving alone time, even if it was just returning from school to an empty home or ordering at a drive-through with no one in the car yelling their order. I started to experience independence gradually when I was a teenager, and loneliness trailed shortly behind. I think because I was rarely alone growing up, the feeling of loneliness sunk deeper. Joining a new soccer team, changing high schools (fun fact: I had three), and walking through the East Village alone on a busy night all strike a cord. However, the older I become, the more instances where I feel lonely get further apart.
Rather than learning to live lonely, I learned to embrace being alone. Aloneness is where I form my own opinion and come up with my best ideas. I’ve learned to become my own self rather than an outcome of my surrounding. The more I learn about myself, the more I learn about what I want in others. My community has become richer thanks to alone time, and life feels more fulfilling.
Being alone is a part of life; you better learn to make it comfortable. The best way to learn is by experience.
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