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AJ Cann

After striving for irrelevance for so many years, it's great to have finally achieved it ;-)
But I know what you mean. It's unfortunate that the term "friend" has been chosen for these online connections. Maybe the day that term slips away will indicate the point where we have a mature understanding of these tools.


I know you know this Alan, but feel I should clarify anyway - obviously it's not you who is irrelevant but rather whether we needed to meet to still be 'friends' (it does sound sooo childish).


I've been mulling this issue over quite a lot over the last few days.

I am an educational technologist. Virtually all of my communication with people takes place online, generally in the public domain (Twitter, blogs, etc.), and with people who know me professionally. I often feel emotionally isolated, because although I view these people as 'friends' in one sense, it wouldn't be wise, or appropriate, for me to express myself fully through these channels. If I'm feeling low, for example, or am struggling with a personal issue, I would hold back from expressing that in the public domain (as many of us would).

Most of us have a host of people we CAN turn to in these situations, and we might use any of a number of communication channels to do so. As it happens, I don't, but this isn't the fault of Twitter, or blogs, Facebook or other social networking sites. It is a product of the way I am; someone who finds maintaining meaningful and supportive social connections difficult, for a whole host of reasons.

I suspect that William Deresiewicz is undergoing a similar experience - only it seems he is projecting his own thoughts, feelings and behaviours - those of a person who struggles to maintain meaningful, positive personal relationships - onto the rest of the population.

Looking at his bio - the (dissatisfied) product of an 'elite' education, a critic who has produced controversial, negative reviews of works by some excellent authors... I'm not surprised he has trouble making and maintaining friendships.

If I were you, I wouldn't get hot under the collar about it ;-) But perhaps that is because it is Christmas and I am feeling rather apathetic about lots of things... being the person I am :-D

Andy Powell

To be somewhat blunt... I don't think the original article deserved such an eloquent response - but thanks for writing it anyway. Have a good Christmas!

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