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Video killed the radio star. Blu-ray is already making DVD obsolete not long after DVD emerged victorious over VHS. And who needs to make a phone call when you can text, BBM or email. I’ve always been a supporter of technical evolution, but I found myself questioning that in the past year as I planned and hosted my 10-year high school reunion. More specifically, I found myself wondering if Facebook is killing the high school reunion.
Let me back up for a minute. When I was in high school, I was senior class president. As with most schools, this meant I was in charge of planning dances and proms, fundraising events and giving a speech at graduation. My teenage self loved the responsibility and I had a great time with it. But, as the Spiderman movie tells us, “With great power comes great responsibility.” For Spiderman, this meant saving lives and fighting villains. I have a more daunting task – planning all future high school reunions. Back in 2000, I had no idea how I would find my fellow classmates when the time came. When planning began in 2009, the answer was obvious – Facebook.
A few weeks before the big event, I went to dinner with some friends. Not surprisingly, the conversation eventually turned to questions and guesses about what various classmates were up to these days, who changed the most, etc. After a few minutes of girly gossiping very mature discussion, I pointed out that we all had access to nearly all of this information courtesy of Facebook. A bit defeated that all the gossiping scientific analysis was for nothing, we moved on to another topic.
I love Facebook and I consider myself lucky to have an opportunity to work with such an awesome platform as part of my job. And on a personal level, it certainly made my job easier for the reunion, which turned out to be a great event (insert image of me patting myself on the back). BUT, in the weeks before the event, I felt it took all the mystery out of the reunion. It wasn’t going to be like the movies with surprising reveals and unrecognizable faces. I went into the reunion already knowing:
– Who was married
– Who had kids
– Who changed and who looked the same
– What they do for a living
– Where they live
– What they had for breakfast (no, really – I saw that morning on Facebook that a former classmate’s wife made pumpkin pancakes. They looked awesome.)
With this in mind, I went into the event assuming nothing would surprise me. Looking back, it was quite the opposite. With so much of the “high-level” information already out in the open, courtesy of Facebook, we were able to really re-connect with people rather than just talk.
I don’t think Facebook killed the high school reunion. In fact, I think it’s enhanced it – as it’s enhanced our communication in general. Who knows, maybe by my 20 year reunion, Facebook will have a new capability that let’s guests teleport in and out of the event. Sure beats the subway!