How Does Facebook Affect Reunions?

By Justin Lafferty 

Scattered among the co-workers and relatives on your Facebook friends list, high school classmates probably make up a significant portion of your contacts. You can see pictures of weddings, kids, and other major life events. So why would you need to go to a high school reunion to catch up?

That’s what a Sacramento Bee reporter recently wondered:

Experts say that attendance at the 10-year high school reunion has dropped in recent years. In general, a good reunion attendance is 25 percent of the graduating class, said National Association of Reunion Managers President Cyndi Clamp. Now, in her own St. Louis-based business, Varsity Reunions, the average number of attendees has dropped below 20 percent.

Even for people in the reunion business, it’s hard to figure out why this is happening, and whether Facebook or the economy is to blame. Yet reunion planners say young alumni simply don’t seem to feel the urgency of catching up in person when they’ve already caught up plenty online.

The sentiment isn’t a new one. However, Facebook has also helped reunions. As people move away from their alma mater, their physical addresses often change, making it difficult to send snail-mail invitations. Through Facebook, reunion organizers can create an event, invite an entire network of grads, and post directions without needing to confirm addresses. Alumni quoted in the Bee also say that Facebook has actually helped grads connect, but financial issues make it hard for reunions to really be well-attended.

Readers: Are you less inclined to go to a high school reunion now, or do you feel that Facebook has made it easier to meet up in person?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.