|This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on August 6, 2008.|
Kris Lee missed her 10-year high school reunion. She graduated in 1988 as part of one of the largest classes in the province, nearly 1000 students from Centennial in Coquitlam. She didn’t get a notice about the reunion until a friend drove past the school and saw the billboard outside when it was already too late.
Now, as plans for her 20th reunion get put in motion, Kris won’t be missing it – she’s helping to organize it, and with the help from a little tool called Facebook, hopefully no names will be left off the invite list.
With social networks, reconnecting with long lost friends is easier. Once you add all your immediate circle, the next Facebook step is to dig up your yearbooks and enter every single name you recognize to sleuth and snoop to see what they’re up to.
“Some people just want to know what you’re doing, just to see if they’ve one upped you. But for people who really want to reconnect with friends, it gives you an avenue,” says Kris. “ I’ve already used it to meet with Joanne, the head of the committee, who was my locker partner in grade 11!”
Some may think social networks ruin all the good surprises a reunion can bring, but not for Rob McMahon. “It’s kinda made me interested in going to my reunion next year,” he says.
Using the internet worked for Tyler Ingram’s reunion. “Facebook made it easier in getting in touch with people for our highschool reunion,” he says. “The turn out was great.”
In addition to using Facebook as a way to find names and email addresses, the grad committee also has a Facebook group for Centennial’s Class of 88, already about 20% of the class has joined.
“It’s opened it up to tons of photos. I’m sure there’s some photos that a lot of people aren’t happy with,” Lee laughs.
Tanya Davis agrees that Facebook acts as a good research tool, but it can’t be used to replace the real life reunion.
“Just because I can see people digitally, it doesn’t mean we’re really interacting,” she says. “In real life is the ONLY way to go. No comparison, for me.”
Facebook isn’t only a good research tool for the organizers, but the attendees as well. You can reconnect with your old pals and get some of the small talk out of the way.
“If I’m chatting with you at the reunion, half of it might be about school and all those stupid things, but we’re not going to really get personal,” says Kris. “Where you can find out more information than I would ever have time to tell you in person at a reunion, which is kind of frightening, is on Facebook.”