Thursday, November 7, 2013

Class Reunion

Reunions are (were?) a cultural phenomenon.  Many movies have class reunions as their plot (Gross Point Blank, for example).

Recently I missed a significant class reunion for my college.  And I'm trying to figure out why.  I don't think I'm the only person who put the reunion on the back burner.  Our class missed the class news, we missed the official activities (no one wanted to volunteer).  I'm not sure how many people (from our class of 200) actually attended the reunion, but I suspect it was a low number.

When I graduated, I did think I would go to the reunions.  And I still might.

But I suspect that technology has greatly changed the landscape of reunions (much like everything else).

The point of going to reunions was to re-connect with people you had lost touch with.  To find out what they do with their lives, meet their spouse, see pictures of their kids.  In many of the books/movies/tv shows, a plot twist was to return to the reunion - having lost weight, had plastic surgery, made a million dollars.  I can't speak for any of my classmates, but I suspect that this was not a factor for missing the reunion.

And it's not that we didn't have a good experience, or remember friends fondly.  I think (can't speak for anyone else) that we did.  College was stressful and difficult, but it was transforming.

But the advent of social media has greatly changed this.  Now, I don't need to pay money for a hotel and transportation to find out what someone is doing - which couples are still together.  If I want to know, I can find them on facebook.  I can google them.  While there are some friends from college that I haven't reconnected with (or the holdouts who refuse to join facebook), there are a lot that have joined the site.  That I am already reconnected with (whatever connection through social media really means).  I can find out what they had for lunch.  I can find out who they will be voting for.  What enigmatic quote they are thinking of today.

So while I would love to have a weekend to spend with those friends (really, a weekend would be awesome) - I don't know that I value it like I would have without the social media presence.  Maybe it's that I've got young kids and travelling is expensive.  Maybe as the kids get older, it will be more of a possibility.  Maybe my college town is just depressing right now (it was always small, but now it's even more economically depressed).

Perhaps it's just the strange nature of the college that I went to, and the strange way we have of relating (or not relating) to one another.  Maybe I'm the only person still thinking about connections from college, when everyone else has moved on.  Maybe no one else wanted to coordinate a reunion (very possible) or be stuck holding the bag (also very possible).  Just something I've been thinking about.

1 comment:

Freckle Face Girl said...

hmmm.... I think you are right about social media changing reunions. The mystery is mostly gone. There isn't any big news to surprise others with.

I couldn't afford to go to my 20th high school reunion. It would have been fun to reconnect, but I am FB friends with many of them. Plus, photos posted of the event were posted all over their pages.