Recently I read an article examining Facebook’s role in class reunions. I found particularly interesting the speculation that Facebook was responsible for declining attendance.
It makes some sense. Facebook makes it so easy to keep up with everyone, so what’s the point of putting on a tie, having baked chicken and vegetable medley, then stumbling through a few chemically enhanced dance steps with Lily what’s-her-name from 20 years ago?
I don’t really see it making much difference in terms of where your class is now, either. Several of my high school classmates have moved away, but I suspect a solid majority of them are still within 25 miles of Madison. You might think that’d be an ongoing impetus to get together there, but you’d be wrong. Perhaps it’s different for other people, but I’ve found that just because it’s easy to get together casually doesn’t mean it happens very often.
I think I agree with the view that Facebook hurts face-to-face reunion prospects. The kinds of things about a person you’re going to take from such a meeting are generally already present on a Facebook profile, and if you want more than that from a person, you don’t wait to see that person every ten years, you know?
Everyone’s got their own piles of stuff going on. That momentum—of family, of career, of adulthood in general—is formidable. I think Facebook robs the nostalgic urge of a lot of its spirit, and its larceny is effective enough to deny many reunions critical mass.
I think that explains the rise in multi-year reunions (one of which my class is part of later this year). I’m interested to see if that’s the new normal, or if it’s just a stop-over on the way to extinction.