Found this fascinating documentary on the connection between social networks and loneliness. It's a bit ironic in that you're reading this online on a blog and probably found out about it via social media.
It definitely got me thinking about how much time I spend online for my work, on my computer for my creativity and my email and phone for my social and family life. It's much, much more than I care to admit, however, in all honesty, I don't really feel lonely. I make a big effort to get together with friends, family and clients whenever possible. I also run groups and retreats whenever I have a chance. Working in cafes helps as well since I never feel isolated. Traveling and staying in community households also keeps me surrounded by people.
It seems that loneliness comes up more for people who are working traditional 9 - 5 jobs and living more traditional lives, than it might for those of us who are finding a multitude of ways to interact via travel, co-working, community households, Meetup, etc. Perhaps that's why I felt so drawn to travel while doing an online business--it creates a feeling of balance which remediates the possibility of loneliness and isolation.
What's the answer? Do internet fasts. Host groups, parties and other types of gatherings. Organize as many activities as possible outside of the house with friends, neighbors and co-workers. Don't see the computer as a substitute for real interaction. Muscles atrophy from lack of use, so don't let that happen to your social skill muscles.
Have you experienced loneliness in connection with the amount of time you spend online? Have your relationships suffered? Have you become more socially awkward? Please share your comments below.