Faux Friendship. Vive l’Haiti.

In a round-up of things on my mind, I’ll talk a little about things in the world and not necessarily centered on design.

I read an engaging article in The Chronicle Review entitled Faux Friendship: Networked with everyone, we no longer know how to connect with anyone. by William Deresiewicz. This engaging article will help add to your own internal discussion of whether you should friend that neighbor with whom you barely speak or have you ready to unplug yourself from the whole Facebook experience. The article is a bit long and, get this, not really “Facebook-able.” The article’s heft is the kind of thing you have to simply sit down and read.

As the title implies, the article purports that in this disconnected world, we no longer have the friendship connections that we used to have in the past. Even the article points out that Carrie and Samantha of Sex In The City fame had come and gone before tweeting and facebooking were vogue. Well, maybe some of that stuff will make it into the Sex In The City Sequel. Anyway, the article does an etymology of what friends are now and how vastly different it is from the “old days”—and by old days, think Spartacus.

Besides reaming on the narcissistic tendencies of some of us on Facebook, the article takes readers on a journey that illustrates the mutations—for good and bad of friendship—that combined with our increasing social and geographic movement, we have developed and created almost an avatar of a life by having our Facebook pages represent some facsimile of our personalities… Our friends, representing some slice of whom we think we are.

I write about Haiti, not from a particular point-of-view or an eye to get you to take part in some action, since the situation is nowhere near settling with estimates in the range of hundreds of thousands perished and scores more injured. All I ask is that you donate at least a thought or two to Haiti. You’re creative. Leave it open-ended and you, the collective wisdom of readers and thinkers will come up with your own, self-sized, open-source solution that can help Haiti whether that be something as big as a prayer, or as little as a donation or meaningful as actually remembering the people AFTER the spotlight has left them … whatever.

By AIGA Baltimore
Published January 19, 2010