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Class Reunions in the Age of Facebook

I may have mentioned a few times this summer that I was planning on attending my 20th high school reunion this month. Last Saturday night, one of my life long BFFs and I did just that.

I met this BFF on our very first day of high school. I don’t specifically remember meeting her, but she sat in front of my in homeroom, and we had PE and English together immediately following that first homeroom. If that doesn’t seal a friendship, I don’t know what would.

ANYWAY, we went. We were hopeful that more friends from our high school circle would be able to go, but alas, real life gets in the way. Before going, I talked to several people about going, and each time, the subject of Facebook came up.If you’re Facebook friends with casual acquaintances, do you really need to make an effort to see them in person? Without Facebook, I would only be in touch with about five people from high school. With Facebook, I keep tabs on about 20. We don’t talk all that much, occasionally “liking” or commenting on something. Do you really need to see those kinds of Facebook friends in person?

My hairdresser’s take is that Facebook actually makes reunions easier. She told me that before she went to her 40th reunion, she read up on some friends’ walls and then had things to talk about with them. She knew if they were grandparents yet, knew if they had traveled lately and knew where they were living. She said it was nice to cut out the “catch-up” conversation, and just get to the current.

My brother’s take on it (he whose 10-year reunion in next summer) is that Facebook is more than enough. If he’s not chatting someone up on Facebook, why the hell would he want to do it in person?

My opinion was somewhere in the middle – while I don’t make the effort to really connect with a lot of Facebook friends, I do find it fun to catch up with people in person.

So my girlfriend and I went, and we had fun.

At twenty years post high school graduation, social circles from 1991 were erased. About 25% of the class was able to make it, and from what I can tell, we came as ourselves. Attire ranged from shorts to evening wear, and it didn’t matter. Everyone admitted to reading nametags and using the senior picture on it as verification. The yearbook at the entryway was thumbed through a lot. We greeted each other with hugs, because, hell, it’s been TWENTY YEARS. It’s hard to put into words, but there is definitely something about seeing friends from childhood. About seeing friends whose parents you know, whose childhood home you’ve seen, whose siblings you know.

During her opening remarks, the class president even brought up Facebook. And her answer to the question on whether or not it makes reunions obsolete was something to this effect- talking online doesn’t take the place of talking in person and giving people a hug in person. And she was right.

The day after the reunion, there was a flurry of friendship connections made on Facebook. Facebook even somehow knew we’d attended the reunion (an event on FB) and added the fact that “after attending RHS 1991 reunion, _____ & _______ are friends.” Instead of just accepting or extending requests like I usually do, I made a point to post on each and every wall. There are no¬† guarantees that we’ll interact much, but at least we’ll be caught up with each when we meet again in 2021!

 

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4 replies on “Class Reunions in the Age of Facebook”

My 10 year reunion is supposed to be next year. Honestly, I have no intention of going. You might be able to blame Facebook, because seeing the sorts of things people I graduated post has just solidified the fact that I have no desire to see most of them. But I’ve kind of always felt like there are maybe 10 people from my class that I care to be in touch with. Some I am, some I’m not and kind of miss, but honestly, it’s not enough to make me go back to where I grew up (ugh) and suffer through small talk with 300 people I never liked.

My 20th reunion was in 2009. In the weeks prior to it the flurry of friending and chatting was through the roof.

I got to the reunion and re-learned what I already know about online personas…much of the time they are a mask. The ugly parts get hidden behide a made-up, simulated stepford version of the person.

Sadly, when I came face to face with many of them, they hadn’t changed much in 20 years. A small batch of people of people seemed really nice (people I wasn’t really friends with in HS)

For about a year after, I stayed in touch with a dozen or so of my former classmates. But, just like in a real friendship, sooner or later the mask slips and you start seeing some of the ichor underneath.

It’s now been 2 years and there is not one person from my graduating class that I talk to in real life, nor on Facebook. Basically things went back to exactly the way they were prior to the reunion ever happening.

This year is supposed to be my 10 year reunion, but no one has been able to get it off the ground and I think a lot of it has to do with facebook. I’m friends with probably a dozen or so people from high school and I still see quite a few of my close friends on a regular basis. It just doesn’t seem that important, although I know there are questions out there about getting one planned. Maybe we’ll all be a touch more nostalgic when 20 years comes around.

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