Addicted to novelty since 2001

Has Facebook wrecked high school reunions?

The other day I received an invitation to my 20-year high school reunion.

Man, I am old.

The reunion is, of course, being put together on Facebook. The organizers have created a ‘Grad 91’ group, spread the word and in a couple of days, 68 people have joined. My grad class was about 150, so that’s just under half.

In 2001, I went to my 10-year reunion, and had a good time. It was pretty fascinating to see how my high school classmates–very few of whom I’d kept up with–were progressing in their lives.

Of course, 2001 was a pre-Facebook world (Facemash was still two years away). Aside from rumours and trash talk I’d heard from the few classmates to whom I regularly talked, I knew very little about my classmates.

In 2011, I can just cruise around Facebook (I use ‘cruise’ in the ‘drive around’ sense, not the ‘pick up’, gay culture sense) and learn all about my classmates. Who got fat? Who got thin? Who has a brood of children? Who’s just plain brooding?

That takes a lot of the delight and surprise out of the actual event, doesn’t it? When you meet your high school crush, it’s not “wow, you look great, how was your decade?” Now it’s “I’m glad you got that mole looked at” and “I love the colours you chose to paint your garden shed”.

But then that familiarity might lead to deeper conversations about things that matter at this, the (hopefully) halfway point of our lives.

What do you think? Has Facebook wrecked or improved reunions?

End note: Dunbar’s number

On a vaguely related note, I was interested to learn that Julie’s high school class had never, to her knowledge had a high school reunion. She graduated from a big high school, with more than a thousand people in her grad class. As I mentioned, mine was 150, which reminded me of Dunbar’s number. When I graduated, I knew the name and face of every student in my class, so that probably makes us more inclined to reconnect later in life.

6 Responses to “Has Facebook wrecked high school reunions?”

  1. Patrick Ellul

    Good one. I think it has certainly changed them. But the most important point is the final one, that it should cut straight to deeper conversations. In fact, you are probably expected to be up to scratch with the group’s facebook trivia as conversation starters.

  2. Roshan

    I’ve been able to get in touch with over a dozen of my old high school friends only because of Facebook and for that I am eternally grateful. They are now back to being a part of my life.

  3. Tony Heller

    Hi Darren,

    You don’t know me but I am a Hillside Grad ’86 member and am actually helping organize our 25th reunion. We are planning a family BBQ on Sunday August 14th at John Lawson Park. I just got an email mentioning that West Van Secondary was doing a similar thing for their 20th. Hence…a google search found your blog. Just wondered if you could tyell me the dates you guys are thinking of going to the park?

    Thanks a lot,

    Tony

    Tony Heller Reply:

    Sorry Darren, just read your tags and see you went to Sentinel….not WVH

    Cheers

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