Reunions In The Age Of Facebook

Interesting blog-post from the Bits Technology blog written by a recent U.Va. graduate, on whether or not college reunions have become obsolete in the age of Facebook. For the writer, the answer is “Yes,” but there is an interesting dialogue disagreeing in the comments section of the post:

Blame Facebook. The social networking tool first became available to my class shortly after we graduated from college. Within months, nearly everyone I knew had joined the service. As we approach the five-year anniversary of Mark Zuckerberg’s invention, the tool has reached critical mass, bordering on ubiquity. As my colleague Brad Stone reported Sunday, it seems everyone and their mother — literally — is on Facebook .

As my friend Alexis, a 2004 Harvard graduate who also decided to skip his upcoming five-year-reunion, put it: “The infotech out there has reduced the desire to go ‘just to know’ what so-and-so is up to. I know what just about everyone is doing.”

Facebook has become a boon for reconnecting with childhood friends, vetting future employees and connecting with potential love interests, not to mention checking on former rivals, spouses, siblings and fizzled flames.

But it’s also deflated some of the mystery of returning to collegiate stomping grounds and seeking out exes and old professors, said Ana Martínez Alemán, a professor at Boston College and author of “Online Social Networking on Campus: Understanding What Matters in Student Culture.”

Read the full post, but scroll and read the comments too. A lot of people at U.Va. have spent a lot of time considering this question. And I think the commenters (here’s a good coment) to this post in the NYT reflect the broader thinking about how Facebook and other social media can actually improve someone’s connection to their alma mater and thereby make reunions even more relevant. By helping you stay current with both your small circle of close friends and your broader second and third-level acquaintances, Facebook is giving people the opportunity to stay involved with their University when previously due to distance, or time, they might not have.

And when people feel that connection to their alma mater, whether it’s through returning to campus, going to sporting events, reading about the University (hint), or keeping in touch via old-school means or new-fangled technology, they are more likely to want to attend a college reunion. So, put me in the camp with the majority of the commenters, disagreeing that Facebook would limit reunion attendance. I predict the opposite.

I’m interested to hear what any U.Va. Facebook devotees have to say about this. Leave a comment.

UPDATE: Scrolling through the NYT comments was a link to this blog, www.Alumnifutures.com which focuses on this issue.

2 Comments on “Reunions In The Age Of Facebook

  1. Pingback: Who Needs a College Reunion? I’ve Got Facebook - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com

  2. I just returned from my 25-year reunion at UVA. And I can say that the reason that I decided to attend was due to Facebook. Having reconnected with many of my UVA friends after signing up on Facebook and seeing that they were attending the reunion made me want to go and see them. And since we had such a blast, I am sure that we will continue to attend our reunions and probably use Facebook as we make our plans to see each other!

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