Over the weekend I attended the 40th reunion of my high school class. There were about 100 of us which represented about a quarter of the graduates. A few folks came from very far away – Australia being the longest distance – although many of us still live within an hour’s drive to the town where we went to school. We’ve had these before but this one was very different. Over the course of today and tomorrow’s TunesDay post I’d like to point out a few things I noticed and which might be helpful to you from a business – and personal – perspective.
The biggest difference seemed to be Facebook. 10 years ago when we did this Facebook had not yet started. There was social networking but it wasn’t really widespread and my generation is generally late to the tech game anyway. Communication of the event came via email (to some) and snail mail (to most) and by word of mouth from classmate to classmate. The planning wasn’t very collaborative – a committee did the planning with very little guidance from the rest of the class.
The event itself was fun. While many people took photos, I’ve seen only a few of them over the years. After all, they had to be developed and printed and either mailed or scanned for me to have seen them. I spent much of the evening catching up – finding out about families and careers and sharing what I’d been doing. It truly was a reunion – a reuniting of a group that had been separated.
Fast forward to last weekend. Much of the planning was done via Facebook. A small group began as invitation only and we all added classmates it grew rapidly. Decisions were taken with input from the group. Moreover, there was already a Class of ’73 group that was non-reunion specific (we’ve all had reminders to find people we went to school with on Facebook, I’m sure). We could “friend” the group as well as the individuals within it. What that meant was a few things. First and foremost, the physical transformations most of us have gone through were less jarring since we’d seen them already. It also took far less time to figure out who was whom (the trick by the way is to look into people’s eyes – they really don’t change that much and it call comes back to you).
I had the experience of shaking the hand of a guy I had not seen in person in 40 years – literally since graduation. That said, we picked right up as if I’d just seen him last week – and I had. We’ve been Facebook buddies for a couple of years. I know about him, his family, and his business and I had that experience many times over the course of the evening. Given the limited time of the evening, it was possible to speak with far more people in-depth since we didn’t need to spend time on catching up and making small talk. I probably spent more time with the folks NOT on Facebook or who aren’t my “friends”. Many people came up to me unsolicited to talk about what I’d been up to – they already knew quite a bit from the screed and LinkedIn and elsewhere. It was very different!
Tomorrow I’ll talk about what this all means as well as add a few more thoughts. Feel free to weigh in during the interim!