My 10-year high school reunion was last month. I didn’t want to go because Facebook has made reunions irrelevant. If I wanted to see what a classmate was up to, I just had to look her up on Facebook.
In high school, I wasn’t a nerd. I just really liked journalism– enough to be an editor of every publication at our high school and a columnist at our town paper. Maybe I did like to hang out in the lobby of Tribune Tower and pretend that I worked at the Chicago Tribune. And maybe I did read every issue of the Columbia Journalism Review cover to cover. Ok, maybe I was a nerd.
At times, I still feel like my awkward 17-year-old self. But don’t we all? Facebook can’t get rid of that feeling because you’re probably posting to it in your pajamas like I am right now.
So I decided to go to my high school reunion. And just like every high school dance, I spent the weeks beforehand obsessing about my outfit, my hair and who I would go with. In the end, I decided to go stag–just like I did to every dance the first two years of high school.
I got to the bar over an hour late, having misread the Facebook invite for the reunion. Not that it mattered. Everyone had already assembled in the exact same cliques from high school: jocks, thespians, slackers, punks and nerds. In the back room of the bar, there were probably 150 people gathered, roughly a fourth of our graduating class.
I realized that I was Facebook friends with almost all of them. Even though I hadn’t seen them in a decade, I knew so much about them–where they are working, who they are engaged or married to, where they went to college, even what their siblings are doing.
Still, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to most of them. What would I say? Certainly not: “Hey I saw your wedding photos. I wouldn’t have gone with teal, but whatever works. Your macaroon cake looked great. And god, your husband is hot.”
Instead I stood in the back with the other nerds, all of whom were much smarter and more successful than me in high school. I never expected what came next.
One by one, classmates came up to me to say they’ve been following my life on Facebook and they were so impressed with my career. “You go to so many glamorous parties!”said one girl. “You’re, like, famous now!” said another. “And you’re so thin!” said a third. I blushed and deflected the compliments.
It was exactly what you want to hear at your high school reunion. Facebook hadn’t made my reunion irrelevant. Ironically, it had already done the bragging for me.
Thirty minutes later, I hopped in a cab. I didn’t get the chance to say good-bye to everyone, but it didn’t matter. We are friends on Facebook.