DEAR HARRIETTE: To the student who was annoyed by a classmate who refused to get a Facebook page to communicate, you advised using Google Docs or Skype. As hard as it is for many of us to consider, there are still people who do not have reliable access to the Internet, or even to a computer. It's not fair to penalize a student for something that may be out of his or her control.
As it is, I fail to see what is so difficult about keeping this student up-to-date on committee activities. Have we really gotten to the point where a quick conversation with someone is too difficult? Why not have someone jot down quick notes, or give the student a quick phone call? I feel like this is being made more difficult than it ought to be. -- Stunned, Shreveport, La.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I would like to weigh in on your column regarding a club member's refusal to go on Facebook. I, too, refuse to participate with Facebook because I feel it is a tribute to one's vanity. My life is not fascinating, nor are the daily "doings" of others.
Perhaps young people who want the world to know where they ate or what kind of shoes they purchased think others are fascinated by such drivel, but, frankly, I doubt they are. This recent desire to have EVERYTHING in one's life shared on Facebook because one thinks he or she is special and unique is a sign of total immaturity and narcissism, in my opinion.
There is nothing stopping the officer for the community service club and her co-officers from emailing this individual or (gasp) phoning her, but of course she, I am sure, is much too busy to do so. Officers in little organizations such as hers have an overblown sense of their own importance, as in this case, since she is soooo irritated that she must be inconvenienced a bit! -- Other Side of the Coin, Chicago
DEAR STUNNED AND OTHER SIDE: Thank you for your letters. You make some valid points, and I would like to go a little deeper with this discussion.
The letter writer made it clear that the student in question had a computer but chose not to use Facebook. That's why I recommended the other online options.
Of course, in general, it is smart to have the option of personal interaction, as well as note taking, for any organization. I think the reason the original writer was promoting Facebook is that it allows multiple people to communicate simultaneously with ease. Technology does have its benefits.
Regarding the anger that Other Side feels, I understand that some people -- young and otherwise -- use social media to share trivial information regarding their lives, but that is not what this person wanted to do. This student's group was interested in using technology to make its work easier. That is an honorable pursuit, even if it didn't work because of one of the member's preferences.