I had my Facebook up on a screen while editing a Melinda Selmys column. I had just checked how many friends I had when I got to this part of her essay. Now, there’s a place for Facebook, in moderation, no doubt. But Selmys writes:

“The palliative consolation of a thousand Facebook friends is no panacea to the soul that craves for a single one before which the heart can openly reveal herself. The surfer of profiles and chronic poster on the walls of acquaintances is like an orphan drifting through Dickensian streets, pressing his nose against the windows of pastry shops and staring dreamily at families around the Christmas table. The imaginary delights of the feast might temporarily distract him from his hunger, but it will do nothing to stave off the doom of malnutrition.

“Indeed, all the electronic placebos for real human relationships present a genuine danger to the life of the soul.

“The constant babble and twitter of vacuous words not only prevents the formation of real relationships, it also chokes out solitude, which though closely akin to loneliness, is almost its opposite. Without solitude the soul cannot enter into intimacy with herself or with God.

“Thus, the person is reduced to a shallow imitation of himself and really is brought to the point where he has little more of substance to say than ‘’sup? I M :) 2day.’”

— Tom Hoopes