Dateline 2007, with dramatic overtones twelve years later:
"Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago," says Shankar Vedantam, a Washington Post staff writer. "And a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.
A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985. Overall, the number of people Americans have in their closest circle of confidants has dropped from around three to about two.
The comprehensive new study paints a sobering picture of an increasingly fragmented America, where intimate social ties -- once seen as an integral part of daily life and associated with a host of psychological and civic benefits -- are shrinking or nonexistent. In bad times, far more people appear to suffer alone.
Has Facebook, Twitter, or social sites picked up some of the slack? A little but not much. The implication for meeting professionals: the need for face-to-face meetings will never die. People will be amenable if only to stem some of the tide of the growing feeling of isolation in their personal lives.