I just returned from the northern suburbs of Chicago where I had my 20-year high school reunion. I didn’t go to my 10-year reunion because I didn’t hear anything about it. Those were the days before social media.
A couple years ago, though, high school friends started showing up on Facebook. It was fascinating to see how I now had little in common with some previously close friends, and much in common with people I hardly knew in high school. I love seeing pictures of kids of the kids I grew up with. It’s so hard to picture those ’90’s teenagers as the parents of today. And, of course, don’t we all want to see how everyone else aged (or infuriatingly didn’t).
At the reunion, my friend who helped organize the reunion said she read people are choosing not to go to their reunion because they have all the nostalgia they need on Facebook. For me, the opposite is true. Facebook enhanced my reunion experience in many ways.
Get a jump start on small talk.
It can be quite awkward having a conversation with someone you haven’t seen in 20 years. However, if you know about a friend’s biking blog, or have viewed his gallery of nature paintings, or can tell someone her daughter looks exactly like her, you’re off to a good start.
Cheat and look at who’s coming.
My memory isn’t exactly what it used to be, so I was happy to see the RSVP list on our reunion’s Facebook page. I’ll admit it. I studied. For unfamiliar names, I looked them up in the yearbook to see if their old photos could ring a bell. I was terrified that someone would recognize me as a friend and I’d have absolutely no recollection of that person. Of course, even with all the studying, it still happened.
Embarrass people with photographs.
When I arrived at my parent’s house, my mom unearthed a big box of my old high school snapshots. I got to work scanning, uploading, and tagging. The comments were hilarious, and it was like having a pre-reunion reunion with old friends.
Meet virtual friends.
Last Christmas, I became Facebook friends with my friend Scott’s wife. She and I had never met before, but she recognized me as a kindred spirit when I posted this charming (NSFW) holiday video. We met in person at the reunion, and found that we could have a good laugh together in person as we could online.
Reconnect with more people.
On the reunion’s Facebook page, I was able to find a few more people I was happy to reconnect, including those who couldn’t make it to the reunion. I also learned in the conversations what some straggling non-FB users were up to.
Embarrass people with more photographs.
Once the reunion is over, there’s the uploading and tagging of the photos from the event itself. From the looks of it, I’m glad I didn’t go to the bar night that preceded the reunion. Looks like people were enjoying themselves a little too much, if you know what I mean. And then you see the pictures of yourself at the reunion, and it’s just like the yearbook staff is picking unflattering pictures of you all over again.
Do you think Facebook helped or hurt your reunion experience?
3 thoughts on “My Facebook Reunion”
Facebook is awash in an orgy of nostalgia recently. From my perspective, more than usual, and it’s usually quite a LOT! Is that because these strange and scary times have us clinging tightly to the safety of our childhood memories?
Timely: My Facebook is all abuzz about our 15th reunion coming up in a few weeks. This has been completely different from our tenth, which was not at all Facebooky– it attempted to be much more impersonal, formal invitations sent out for an expensive dinner in a fancy hall. This year in a matter of months, a Facebook group attempting to include everyone from our class who is even ON Facebook sprang up, reunion planning and suggestions burst in as group discussions and comments from everyone, and now a pavillion has been rented and everyone’s posting discussions about who’s bringing what and how they should dress and who’s bringing kids (as kids are invited this time), and people who are coming are right there on the RSVP list (oh, and they didn’t even bother sending paper invites to people who are on Facebook) and people who aren’t coming are leaving messages saying Sorry but hello again anyway!
I must say that not too many people I was actually friends with have said they’re going to be there, which DOES make me a little nervous/not looking forward to it as much, but on the other hand it is kind of nice to know that ahead of time, and know the people I AM likely to want to see there!
Facebook has reminded me that some of those I have lost touch with need to stay that way. I’m not interested in their partisan politics (especially when it crosses over into religion), their kitsch that morphs into full-on drama at a finger snap, etc.
Sadly, this also includes many family members, too.
All this and the Zuckerberg shell game on privacy caused me to ditch Facebook, PERMANENTLY.
If some of my classmates make it to Google Plus and actually behave, I might go to a reunion. It’s the jerky few that have turned me off. Those that have some dignity (including a friend that planned my 10th) understand, and they aren’t going to hassle me about it.
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