I'm Just Sayin'
Random Thoughts from a Random Guy

Has Facebook Killed the High School Reunion?

NHS Class of 1991

I recently attended my 20 year high school reunion.  It’s hard to believe it’s been that long.  When I was a kid, 20 years seemed like such a long time.  Now, it goes by in a flash.  That’s a cliche of growing up.  “Where did the time go?” we always ask.

In the 20 years that have passed, there have been a lot of changes in technology.  The advent of the Internet, email, and Facebook have forever changed the future of the high school reunion.  This of course is my opinion, but it’s what I observed during the course of the evening at my own reunion.
I first signed up for Facebook in 2008.  In the three years I’ve been on it, I’ve become “friends” with a lot of people.  Since I anchor a morning news program, I get a lot of requests from viewers, which I have added, but with limited access to my private life.  I’ve also been added and have added several people from high school, middle school, and elementary school.
At my reunion, less than a third of our class showed up.  We had a large class, I think right around 400 people walked on that day in May 1991.  While I didn’t expect all of them or even half of them to show up, I was disappointed by the turnout.  But I was happy to get reacquainted with old friends.

Reuniting with old friends

(I’m getting back to my point about Facebook) One thing I thought would happen was I’d be able to establish new relationships with some of the people I’m friends with on Facebook.  That didn’t happen though.  Sure, there were some casual “hellos”, and “how are you?”, but nothing beyond that casual greeting. I think with Facebook, we get to see what’s going on in each others lives and that takes away the need to actually socialize when we come face to face with someone who is more of an acquaintance and less of a friend.

Believe it or not, I am still a very quiet and shy person until I get to know people.  Walking into that reunion was like stepping back in time.  I became withdrawn and stuck to the people in my comfort zone.  I have very few friends that I still talk to or see on a regular basis from back then.  While Facebook has allowed more of us to keep in touch, it hasn’t helped develop my social skills.
There were many people there that I did not talk to at all.  Of course I had limited or no conversations with them in high school too.  But these were people who I really wanted to connect with, but for whatever reason, the shy guy took over and I couldn’t get the nerve to approach these folks, who for the lack of a better term are strangers to me.  Even the liquid courage I carried didn’t help push me across that line.
But to be honest, I didn’t see a whole lot of people crossing out of their comfort zones.  It seemed like the same crowds from high school hung together at the reunion.  There’s safety in numbers.  We want to be comfortable.  It’s much easier to comment on someone’s status update or picture than it is to walk over and engage in a conversation.
So has Facebook ruined the reunion experience, I’m not sure.  Ruin maybe too harsh a word.  But I would like to think that if I didn’t know things about people I haven’t talked to in years, I might be more inclined to approach them and engage in a conversation.  Classmates, if you read this, I’m curious to know what you think.  Or anyone who has been to a class reunion recently, has Facebook changed things for you?


6 Responses to “Has Facebook Killed the High School Reunion?”

  1. Not sure if FB has killed the high school reunion…it has however done nothing to help people socialize. God help the kids growing up today who know nothing except Skyping, Facebook, texting, etc. Anyone can be the star of the party if they spend twenty minutes searching for the perfect, comedic status quote. Of course, when you talk to them in real life they have zero personality. I’ve also noticed that a number of FB people specialize in trick “glamour shot” photography (aka- shots taken from high above). If I had attended the reunion in person I would have had to stand on a chair and look down to recognize them. Of course, no one wants to put an unflattering picture on their profile
    I would have loved to been there, but have recently moved halfway across the country and couldn’t make vacation and reunions coincide this time around. Economics could play a role too in people deciding whether or not to attend.

  2. Kevin.. I feel the same… I got there and was glued to my chair for the first 2 hours… scared to walk up to anyone and when I did I had came with friends…. I said come on girls were going to walk around… LOL I was to shy to do it alone but still as I walked around I didn’t know what to say to anyone…. And every conversation ended up with talking about photo’s on facebook or things I have seen on their facebook… sad that we are all trapped in the facebook world.. Even I updated my facebook status from the bathroom since I couldn’t get service in the reunion room… 😦 I really did enjoy the reunion and loved the video and will be going to the next one and hopefully see more faces!!!

  3. To a point I agree. I think I was pretty out-going in school &I would love to have seen everyone, but too many factors came in to play (ie: nowhere for my kids to stay). From the pics there were some mixing of the different groups, but not much. Some people are just more out-going when not faced with up close & personal events/parties. Sad, but such is human nature…

  4. If it was not for facebook I never would have known about the reunion. I do agree it hinders socialization face to face. I never stayed in touch with anyone from High School and moved away so everyone I talked to was stepping out of my comfort zone. Of course I felt the apprehension like many others when I first walked in. “what to say, will I look stupid if I don’t know rememer them and they do me, does this dress make me look fat”. LOL. I guess it is the therapist is me but I just forced my self to start talking to others and just walking up to them asking who they are. I enjoyed connecting with others and sure wish many more would have been able to make it. Thanks to all who put it together and thanks to Kevin for the blog and keeping up with the technology to get all this out there in cyberspace. You were always very smart in school. I remember that.

  5. You did an awesome job on the video with what pic’s you were given. Props to all who participated in putting the whole reunion together. I want to know where the x@ll did that pic of me come from!! LOL…As of yet, I have not seen all the pic’s from the reunion. You indeed ask the question of the day, did facebook “kill the reunion”? I was unable to attend, but for others who knows. Was it the privy to catching up on facebook or just life getting in the way that kept others from attending. Out of close to 400 people, I would of thought more would of went as well. I am supprised to hear that the same people seemed to stick to the usual crowds. It’s Human nature to revert to our own comfort zones I guess or was it just catching up with the old crowds themselves, (of their friends they have not seen in years). I have never seen myself as belonging to any particular click, however others may have seen differently. I find it funny to see how other people perceive things. I could keep writing about this, but I will save everyone from my nostalgic thoughts & ideas. I have to say I think Facebook may have played a part in the low attendance. The internet ie, facebook, can allow you to be a fly on the wall in a sense without being seen or heard. I did attend the 1st reunion we had, only 5 years after graduation. Which I thought funny at the time because it was so soon, but… I still went! We did not have facebook at the time. I bet not everyone even had home PC’s at the time. Our generation, rather the class of 1991 may just be a tad bit early for the question. There was a big jump in technology after we graduated. We can only see how this facebook question will progress for future graduates. Hope to make the next reunion & good luck finding the answer.

  6. What a great article Kevin! I am still pained at the fact I wasn’t able to come into town for the reunion. It sounds like Rick, you and anyone else who worked so very hard to put together the whole event, really did an excellent job. Kudos to you all!! As for your topic of Facebook “killing” high school reunions…I don’t know that I would use the word “kill.” I don’t think reunions will ever be dead~ maybe they are just evolving or progressing like all good things do. Facebook indeed may preempt a few individuals from not attending for one random reason or another, but I noticed quite a few folks, like myself, who no longer live in town. I have been surprised to learn how spread out across the country our class is. I attribute it to our generation growing up on the idea that they can do anything and be anyone they want to be. Our generation has lots of adventure or hear I know….we are the geterdone generation (lol). Yeah, well I have never been all that funny, I guess some things don’t change. Anyhow, my experience in getting reacquainted with classmates on Facebook has been pretty positive overall. It actually made me look forward to attending the reunion. I think prior to “friend-ing” so many classmates on Facebook, I was kinda complacent about the whole thing. I knew it was coming up, but just thought “ehhh what could I possibly have in common with any of them?” Even though I had to cancel at the last minute due to our military orders, I had become pretty excited and was really looking forward to attending. I found that Facebook had allowed me the opportunity to get to “do some homework” by looking at photos, statuses or even chatting with past classmates. It makes me smile each time I stumble onto some random similarity I have to someone I least expected to have it with. It often creates a bridge for conversation or a partner for “words with friends” on my iphone (stop kicking my ‘Canada’!~inside joke, ask me about it later). Twenty years is certainly a long time; I regrettably have not kept in touch with anyone, can’t remember the name of someone I met last week more~or~less from two decades ago, and thankfully am a completely different person now, than I was in 1991. Technology sure can be an amazing awesome tool, as well as a double edged sword. Hopefully we will use it to touch each others lives in a positive way, whether for a lifetime or just a moment. That being said I can’t wait until our next class reunion…hopefully I will need to catch a hopper from Italy to get there!

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