We are much more likely to watch Netflix instead of spending time in a third place. We are a culture that is seeing less and less interest in churches, club memberships, leagues, etc., and one that provides fewer clubs, small events, and other spaces for people to hang out in. That has hurt us socially. Media has made us much more afraid of each other, pushing us away from forming communities. (Fox specializes in terrifying their own audience and telling them to keep coming back to learn all the things they should be scared of, and others have followed in their footsteps.)They have helped us become less and less interested in creating third places. If we do gather, it’s usually for some specific purpose or event, not something we do on an ongoing basis. So, we never form the bonds that give us a sense of belonging.
We are lonely. That loneliness is causing immense harm. We don’t belong anywhere, but we should belong and try to find ways to create a space where people can belong.