My 20 year high school reunion was planned through Facebook.
I think the only computer class I took in high school was on a clunky IBM with a black screen and green characters, it hummed when it was thinking. This was before AOL had mail, when Amazon was only a river and Bill Gates was still nerdy. Now look at me, my computer is chained to my right hand; right by my i-phone and my mp3 player. The Internet is my social, artistic and informational network.
Because all Facebook don't we? Of course we do (oh come on, admit it). We post pictures of our vacations, our children, our events. It is the ultimate, ultimate social network. When I got the invitation to my 20th, I started connecting with long, lost high school buddies; checking blog sites, seeing what everyone was up to, commenting on cute three-year old birthday photos.
As it got closer to our reunion, someone commented that maybe Facebook had replaced the need for reunions. Was this true? Did we no longer need to meet and exchange cute birthday photos if we had already done it on Facebook?
Interesting thought....I had connected with many people who I didn't think I would ever see again. Suddenly I knew where they had vacationed in Europe, how many children they had and that on Thursday night, they were quite annoyed that the cat had thrown up on the Persian rug.
Does this qualify as a reunion?
My answer after this weekend is resoundingly.....NO....
It does help. Walking into room of people I hadn't seen in a while, it was nice to know who just bought a house, who got married, who has a new girlfriend.....it takes the small talk out of the situation. It is a little strange however, to know so much about some one's life who you actually haven't seen in twenty years. It's a level of knowing that maybe I haven't earned because I haven't actually seen them in a while.
And let's face it, it is quite odd to meet your classmates new husband and already know that on Wednesday night they had quite the flatulence problem because their wife posted it on Facebook. Hmmmmm....let's work up to that knowledge, perhaps over a beer or two.
So no, this network doesn't replace conversation and interaction. We can blog, text, facebook, email and tweet.......it's all good but it doesn't mean quite as much until we meet.....
and it was good to meet again :)