Monday, October 11, 2021

Facebook has put a big dent into class reunions, and maybe that's not a bad thing

One of the biggest mistakes I made in high school was running for and holding a class officer position.

I was treasurer of our class for, I think, three of the four years of high school. This turned out not to be the best move because (a) I wasn't especially dedicated to the job, relative to the other activities in which I participated, and (b) It came with a lifelong commitment to organize class reunions of which I was wholly ignorant.

There are high school reunions that get planned and executed by non-class officers all the time. But more often than not, I would say, the officers are at least involved if not outright leading the effort.

Thus, once every five years I start hearing from classmates asking if we're going to have a reunion for that particular post-graduation milestone. I think we've done something, formal or informal, at every 5-year increment since we left Wickliffe High School in 1988.

The last one we did was our 30th in the summer of 2018. Attendance was so-so, but those of us who were there had a great time.

There are many reasons why people don't attend reunions, not the least of which is that they didn't particularly enjoy their high school years or their classmates, or both. Others really don't like the way they look or have other motives for staying away, which is obviously perfectly fine.

The most common thing I hear is, "I keep up with the people I want to keep up with and don't really need to see anyone else."

Which, again, is completely fine.

Another big factor in lackluster reunion attendance is social media, and here I'm thinking specifically of Facebook.

At least half if not more of my 160+ classmates are on Facebook, and those are generally the people whose lives I know the most about.

I enjoy the opportunity to sit down and talk with them face to face, but it's not like I need that time to find out if they're married, if they have kids, what those kids are up to, where they've living, where they're working, etc.

For the most part, I already know that stuff thanks to Mark Zuckerberg's online creation.

If people want to continue having face-to-face get-togethers every half-decade, the other class officers and I will continue to arrange them.

But if we get to the point that everyone decides they've had their fill of the folks whose photos are next to theirs in the yearbook, I'll admit having one less thing on my plate  even if it's very occasional  isn't the worst thing in the world.

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