Friday, July 15, 2011

How Facebook Killed The Class Reunion. For Me, At Least.

[Editor's Note: I was gonna give this post the epic title "The Irrelevance Of The Class Reunion In Post-Facebook America". Then I came to my senses and realized a shorter title was better for SEO. Sue me.]

I didn't like high school.

There, I said it.

I really, and truly didn't enjoy it, for a million reasons too lengthy and too personal to go into here. I did make some lifelong friends, I did accomplish what I needed to (full academic ride to my HBCU), and I did appreciate growing up in a small town without a million and one distractions (crime, drugs, autotune) to take me off track. That said, when I walked up to get my diploma, my life as a high schooler was over. I haven't been back, and don't plan on going back. I "came into my own" in college, and have gone on to accomplish some good things in life. I'm generally not a "dwell on the past" sorta guy anyway. High school is a period in my life best observed via the rearview mirror. Or simply forgotten altogether.

All that said, my 20th (!!!) class reunion is coming up this Fall, and I'm sorta on the fence now. Clichés Of Typical American Life™ say you're supposed to return triumphantly to your class reunion to relive those wonderful moments of youth with long lost friends. I was unable to make my 10th, so I guess it would be kinda wrong to miss the 20th as well. But I don't feel much of a pull to go. I'm already in contact with most (not all, but most) of the people I want to be in contact with. Finding childcare for an entire weekend, driving/flying all the way down to NC, getting a hotel room, etc. is a lot to invest. And then there's the obvious.


My class reunion has its own Facebook group (or is it fan page? I have no idea how FB works.) and most of my graduating class of 169 is up there. Class reunions are mostly about going back to check up on who's where, who had a baby with whom, and whether or not the baddest chick in your graduating class is pushing 275. With Facebook, especially if you've got some page/group for your graduating class, you can find out all this stuff in a matter of minutes, sans the awkward "sooooo, what are you doing with your life now?" small talk. You can snoop around see photos of people and their kids, find out where they live and what they do for a living, and yes, you can verify whether or not the baddest chick in your graduating class is pushing 275 (she isn't). If the mood really hit you, you could email/chat with whomever you're interested in catching up with. All of the pleasure, none of the awkwardness.

Isn't that essentially the entire point of the class reunion in the first place?

I may be biased here, because again, I didn't particularly enjoy high school and have no special fondness for most of the people I graduated with. Scrolling through the dozens of sorta-familiar faces and long forgotten names on my class' page/group was a nice trip down memory lane, but I didn't feel any pull to drive 300 miles and spend hundreds of dollars to see these folks in person. I didn't like most of them then, I don't like most of them now. I barely talked to these people when I saw them everyday. Why go through all the trouble (and money) to have the same odd conversations now?

I guess, to me at least, Facebook has essentially made the concept of the class reunion a relic of the past. What say ye'?

Question: Are you going to your class reunion or has Facebook made this pointless? Has the convenience of catching up with people via social media made in-person interactions less important? Did you enjoy high school, or is the past the past?

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