Now that you are most likely on the freshly IPO’d Facebook and have found long-lost friends from high school or college, does this change the way you think about attending a reunion for these classes?
Maybe you found anyone you were wondering about and have satisfied your curiosity. Maybe you reconnected with friends and can’t wait to see them at the reunion. Which one are you?
I took a poll of the readers of the daily writer resource HARO (www.HelpAReporter.com) to see what the general opinion was and here are some of the comments I got from the responders:
“I’m thankful Facebook has allowed me to keep in touch with some of my best friends from high school, college, and even my family in Sweden and Argentina…but right now, as I approach the ten year mark from graduating High School, Facebook has taken on a whole new purpose for me. It’s a database!” says event and wedding planner Jen Bergmark, who was senior class president in high school, and is now in charge of planning their reunion. She went on to write that through Facebook, she has been able to find all but 47 classmates out of 318.
“As a reunion organizer (my own H.S. class), I think it has sparked an interest by having a Facebook page devoted to the class. People who were marginally involved in high school extra curricular activities are active on the page. I believe that people will be more interested in attending the event by already having gained common ground with class mates after such a long time. This will be our 35th year reunion,” says Anne Melanson.
“I’m connected to many high school and college friends via (Facebook) and being connected to them makes me MUCH more excited to attend reunions. I’ve even grown to know people from each place that I didn’t know at all well while I was there,” says Heidi Waterfield.
Tiffany Cadogan has a different take. “With my 10 year high school reunion approaching in June, it’s really hard for me to get excited because most of my senior classmates all have Facebook accounts. Our former class president has even created a Facebook profile to keep everyone up to date and aware of any major news about our graduation class. Everything from their wedding pictures to the date they moved to NY for their dream job is now posted on their new Facebook timeline, so why must I spend money to get information I already know?”
Public Relations expert Jason Mudd says, “Social media brings people together virtually. Yes, that can and does take the mystic and curiosity to see what people are up to away.
“However, it can also help to create long-term, more meaningful bonds so that the reunion is less awkward and more fun as well as more social because the small talk is done and now it’s time to engage and have a good time with old friends who have already been somewhat newly reconnected and staying in touch.
“Social media also enables access to those new or rekindled friendships that you make at such events.”
“I coordinated my 35th class reunion a couple of years ago and Facebook was instrumental in getting a great turnout. I felt (and people also told me) that having communicated on Facebook before the reunion made them want to go to the reunion and also it wasn’t as if you were walking in cold turkey after not seeing someone for years – having caught up on FB made it easier to ‘walk into the room’ since you had a place to start communicating,” says Joan Martin Fee.
Jennifer Perez, a publicist for Benchmark Email, says her view has changed since the advent of Facebook. “In my last high school reunion, no one was using Facebook. I was dying to go, so much so that I flew all the way from the Czech Republic, where my husband and I were living at the time, just to attend.
“In the last 5 years or so, however, I’ve friended tons of high school classmates on Facebook. I read what they are doing every day, see pictures of their kids, know when their parents have died and what they’ve made for dinner. Now a group is planning a 20th high school reunion for this year, and this time it will only be an hour or so from my house.
“Will I attend? No. I have no desire to. Zero.
“Classmates.com and Reunion.com, to a lesser extent, were pioneers in the movement of connecting friends so they could plan and attend elaborate reunions and get-togethers. However, now I can pop into Facebook and find out more about my classmates in a week than I ever could in a rushed, constantly interrupted conversation shouted over loud music.”
Radio talks show host and author Lisa Wexler had a rather intense experience from Facebook regarding her reunion. “The ONLY reason I attended a 30 something reunion last August was because of Facebook stalking, that turned into calling me during my talk radio show to plead with me to come. This one guy organized our reunion like an insane person, got over 500 people to come.” Whoa.
“I think it makes you less inclined to go. If I want to find out what is going on in someone’s life I just check their status update,” says Anna Aquino, author of the up-coming “Cursing the Church or Helping It? Exposing the Spirit of Balaam.”
Leah Craig says she and her close friends from high school have often pondered whether they will attend their 10-year reunion or not and Facebook has had an effect on her decision. “I still don’t think I’d attend my 10-year reunion because I feel like I know what there is to know–she had a baby (she posted pictures from the delivery room), that popular girl gained a lot of weight (I could even look at the picture history to show you when it happened), these people still hang out (check out their recent weekend bar pictures), etc. Facebook has definitely taken the mystery out of the reunion for me. Back when I graduated, I was really looking forward to it, too.”
Her classmates will have to wait – Kathleen Berzon says she had looked forward to her 25th but decided not to take the time because she knows what’s going on with her classmates because of Facebook. “I went to a smaller school and I am friends with almost all of my classmates on FB. Therefore, I am updated on their lives and happenings on almost a regular basis. Additionally, I knew my classmates would post pictures and event highlights, so although it wasn’t the same as being there in person, at least I got a taste.
And, while it is 5 years away, I’m looking forward to the big 30th and regardless of Facebook, and will try to make that one in the flesh!”
Facebook helped make the decision for Cheryl Knauer. “I opted not to attend my 15 year high school reunion in November because of Facebook. I didn’t see a need to go when I am friends with most of my former classmates on Facebook. I am already aware of what is happening with them and see photos of them and their families on Facebook. Plus, many of my classmates who I might have liked to have seen at the reunion have moved far away, and were not able to make it to the reunion anyway. I was able to find this out in advance through Facebook. Instead, two of my high school girlfriends and I opted to spend the day in Washington, D.C.”
Nikki Thompson has seen the benefits in love and business that have come from the class gatherings facilitated through Facebook. “I love what Facebook has done to my enthusiasm for high school reunions/gatherings. You can read about how high school class mates are doing and see a few shots of them but to actually meet with them is a whole difference.
“I can go on and on about our rekindled relationships. So much has happen among the group such as people have developed romantic and business relationships (including myself). Some of us haven’t seen each other since the day we walked out of that school but you wouldn’t know it by the way we interact.”
So, a mixed bag, it seems. While everyone agrees it is a great way to connect with people, they differ on the effect this has. It either makes them want to see people more or satisfies their curiosity and makes them want to see them less.
What do you think? Please comment below about your experiences and opinions.
Marijo Tinlin is the Editor in Chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of the new book about patriotism and teaching our children to love this country called “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American.” It features 13 interviews with patriotic Americans including Ed Meese, Erick Erickson and Jackie Gingrich Cushman. It’s available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.]]>