I think Facebook may have killed the high school reunion.
I take that back; I think Facebook is killing the high school reunion, and I'm venturing a guess that my former schoolmates and I may be its first victims.
I like to think we were always an easygoing group of people. I come from a very small town by southern California standards, and there were only two elementary schools, one junior high and one high school that people attended. Essentially, most of the 198 people I graduated with were kids I grew up with from the age of 3, 4, or 5 on.
In a way, we were like a family... that's kind of how it is with people who grew up alongside you, isn't it? You know the nuances and personalities of each other, whether or not you appreciate them for their similarities to or differences from you. We had our groups of friends and separate interests, but there is an intangible thread that connects a group of schoolmates who journeyed from kindergarten to senior year and I don't care what anyone says to the contrary. I consider it to be a truth.
Thinking back on our time together, especially in middle and high school, I don't remember our class pushing the envelope too much. Also, I don't think there was a ton of class-wide discord. What I mean by this is while, of course, there were the fights and nasty break-ups and rumors you'll find in any high school class, most of my classmates (me included) just sort of coasted toward graduation.
No one tried to pull a creative class prank or rock the boat with authority. Back then, we were not a class of risk takers. We were pretty damn apathetic in a lot of ways, actually.
I can remember chatter around graduation about our ten year reunion; things we'd bring, stories and people we'd talk about. Don't get me wrong, a lot of us disliked one another and were excited at the prospect of new faces for the first time in our lives; just because you're a part of a family doesn't mean you have to like everyone.
Either way, we were sophomores in college when Facebook launched. Our profiles consisted of a single photo of ourselves. The university we were attending (because remember, Facebook used to be only for college students). A few of your interests and hobbies.
And that was it.
But as we continued to get older and Facebook continued to grow, so did our ability to essentially creep on one another's lives. I know where my former classmates have gone to school, have worked, currently work, who they've married, what their children's names are... and it's not as if I've had to try to figure out this information, either! Facebook delivers this news on a platter.
Many of these people, I have not seen since we exited our Grad Night bus on the morning of June 20, 2002.
I know more about some lives now then I did when we saw each other on a daily basis, and there are even those I consider to be my friends now that I never knew all that well growing up (to me, this is one of the definite pluses of social media). But it has left me to ponder over the last year if a reunion is... all that necessary?
As far as I know, each class is left to their own devices; our former high school takes no part in putting together reunion festivities, it's all up to us. In the years creeping up to this 10 year mark, I was wholeheartedly gung-ho about attending it.
Then 2012 rolled around. And it had been 10 years. And I got to thinking: how has Facebook changed the dynamic of the reunion?
For one, it takes any element of surprise or voyeurism away. Gone are the fun "what ifs?" and "who do you thinks?" that I always assumed would happen (you know, like it did for Romy and Michelle). The people I still actually see from my childhood are a small number. The people I communicate with via Facebook and email is slightly larger, but not by much. And the people I disliked or couldn't care less about in high school? I don't care to find out what's going on with them one way or another.
So why in the hell am I going to go to our reunion?
Tack onto this the fact that no one has made the initiative to put together a gathering at all, and it looks as though we still might be that apathetic class that just doesn't care enough to make an effort.
And to be honest, I find that fact to be the most awesome of all.