Monday, June 15, 2009

Is Facebook Hurting High School Reunions?

Facebook and other social networking sites are proving themselves an invaluable tool in keeping people connected or finding long-lost friends, but apparently there is a downside...


But such self-organization is hurting businesses devoted to reunions, says Jonathan Miller, co-owner of Reunited Inc, a 20-year-old company that has helped planned more than 1,000 high school reunions. "It's definitely affected our business," Miller says. "Classes can now easily say to me, 'Jonathan, we have 150 people in our Facebook group right now, and we really don't need your services.'"

College alumni associations are dealing with the same issues. "Students now are all connected through Facebook and MySpace and other sites, so they leave college with their own network completely intact," says Deborah Dietzler, executive director of alumni relations at the University of Georgia. "This is not like 20 years ago where, if you wanted to get in touch with someone, you kind of needed to call the alumni office."
Of course, the flip side to that argument is that people still want to see who got fat, who is bald and who is rich in person:
Marc Dizon was a class officer for Virginia's West Springfield High class of 1999. Nine or so years later, dozens of former classmates began to e-mail him through Facebook to ask if a reunion was going to happen. The interest was there. "I don't think reunions are redundant on account of social media," he says. "You're always going to want to see people face to face. And those who don't go are probably those who wouldn't have gone even if there was no Facebook."

Your humble editor found his ten year reunion quite sufficient in satisfying his curiosity. I skipped the 20.

(And if I get another virtual "gift" from an old high school classmate on FB, I am going to return it at the virtual store for a virtual gift card.)
The comments section is open for your thoughts.