Friday, July 8, 2011

The Social (Media) Reunion

Last weekend I attended my 25th high school reunion.

The Facebook reunion. 

Everything took place virtually, from the planning to the invites, until the event itself, which made it somewhat surreal.

Ever meet up with hundreds of your "friends" at once in a shotgun chat room?

Don't get me wrong.  I had a great time.  But there were two big differences from reunions of yore. 

First, I am guessing when my parents attend reunions people whip out photos of the kids, grand kids, or a Super 8 Motel with an AARP discount.

No pictures for us.   Not needed. 

Who needs pictures when you can whip out a smart phone and learn all about little Taylor's first trip to the dentist.  Better yet, you can pose for a reunion picture and post it to a Facebook page, so classmates who weren't able to travel (or locals who had more important things to do, like watch a Law and Order marathon) can instantly feel the love.

Events aren't "real" until they show up on Facebook, right?

The other big difference is the way a lot of us "knew" each other.

Let's face it.  Social media is an eavesdropping tool.  You drop in, anonymously, then drop out.  A cyber one night stand. 

Facebook is like a museum, sans the noisy field trippers and ludicrous parking fees.  You can tour the galleries at will without detection, or consequence. 

If relationships are ultimately about boundaries, then Facebook is the open border. 

One classmate said attending reunions requires "real confidence,"  which I suppose is true.  But what distinguishes a 25th reunion from a 10th reunion is the lack of posturing.  

By the time you hit middle age the pretenses are gone. We are who we are, whether fat, thin, bald, married, single or on work release. The women looked sharp, while a lot of guys dressed like they had just cleaned out the garage. 

Reunions, like high school,  are ultimately viewed from our own prism.  We sit in classes (most of them) for four years with rows of students who's experience might be completely different than our own.   Reminiscing is a contact sport, and it's not for everyone. 

Unless it's online. 


  1. Brilliant! Couldn't have said it any better! Still a little pissed about all those who still live there and just didnt bother to show up. I flew in and spent tons but it was well worth it. Loved seeing you and everyone else again - Rockelle (aka Rocky) Class of 86

  2. Thanks Rocky always good to see you also.

  3. Loved your virtual reunion--what a great idea!

  4. Well said, Bill! There must be a lot of very clean garages in the area...
    I would "like" this on Facebook, but I'm trying to be cool and use that Google+ that is lying dormant on my computer.
    Great to see you (and your wife) again!