This weekend I made the trek to celebrate my 10-year high school reunion from Homewood High School located in Homewood, AL – my hometown nestled in an area south of Red Mountain, and to locals, lovingly named the suburb community “over the mountain”. It was an exceptional place to grow up, with all the resources and experiences that you think of with a suburban Southern town including overwhelming pride for the stand out athletes, an active PTA, open markets with handmade crafts on weekends, high-end boutique shopping, a renowned marching band that has played in the Macy’s Day more times than any other band outside of New York (true fact), and even a day dedicated each May to the city called (drumroll please)….”We Love Homewood Day”. Again, it was such a wonderful place to grow up.
Having the typical devastating high school experience as anyone else, with mean girls and heartbreak dispensed from boys like vending machines, I fully anticipated angst to swell as the even drew closer. And while at home visiting over the Christmas holidays, I spoke with a classmate about our expectations.
My best friend forever from high school/growing up: Are you excited to see anyone at the reunion, or nervous to see (….let’s call them Kevin and…Maria) Kevin and Maria?
To give you a bit of background, Kevin is one of those vending machines that I’ve a mild crush on for no shorter than 15 years, and while I’ve seen him dozens of times since our graduation (including college and beyond) and we’ve become really great buddies, the smile and soft spoken Southern charisma still get me verklempt each time. Maria is one of the most incredibly talented/traveled/brilliant women that I’ve been awestruck by for more than a decade (aka A little competitive with). Side note: Neither made it to the reunion.
Me: I think it will be cool to see everyone, but let’s be real, ever since they created our graduating class group on Facebook, I kinda know what everyone’s up to. At least have access to look if I feel so inclined.
MBFFFHS/GU: Yeah, I guess that’s true. And you come home often enough to check in with the people that are still here.
Me: It’s actually a bit of a bummer, don’t you think? To have that wonder of what people look like, or if they’re married, or what they’re doing taken away because of Facebook?
MBFFFHS/GU: If you were that interested you’d stay in touch regardless of a social network, Jess.
Me: I know, you’re right. But wasn’t that part of the appeal pre-’04? Now instead of “what have you been doing in the past 10 years?” it’s more, “how was that dinner on Thursday?”
MBFFFHS/GU: (rolling her eyes) Oh geez.
Admittedly, I spend very little time trolling over Facebook profiles, but seeing bits and pieces pass through my newsfeed over the past several years, I had a good enough sense as to was going on with most folks, with a couple surprises thrown in from folks that don’t have Facebook or don’t update regularly (yes, it’s true, those people exist). But those that I did know a bit about because of technology helped make the conversation richer – we could skip over all the superficial questions and get to meatier conversation much more quickly with some folks I plan to stay in better touch (in all likelihood through Facebook) with as a result.
So what about you? Have you felt social networks steal surprise or beat the punch? Or have you been able to leverage them for deeper conversation at events?