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Con: Social media fulfill role of high school reunions

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 26, 2012 at 3:26 a.m.
Updated Aug. 27, 2012 at 3:27 a.m.


From who gained weight and who made it big career-wise, it's nosy questions like those that pique people's interest when high school reunion time rolls around. With the emergence of social media sites such as Facebook, however, such information is available - quite literally - at one's fingertips.

TO READ WHY FACE-TO-FACE REUNIONS ARE IMPORTANT, CLICK HERE

Victoria resident Robert Gonzalez still has a couple of years until his 10-year high school reunion.

When the time comes in 2014, however, he said he's not sure he'll feel the need to go.

Facebook is like its own reunion, he said, explaining it allows people to check in on their friends and see what's happening any day of the year.

Two-thirds of online adults who use social media sites say they do so to stay in touch with friends and family members, according to "Why Americans Use Social Media," a Pew Research Center study released in November. Half of those surveyed said reconnecting with those they've lost touch with is another main reason for logging on.

Mike Silva, CEO of GreatReunions.com, said he's experienced three social media cycles thus far, with Classmates.com in 2000, Myspace and, most recently, Facebook.

He called such sites a double-edged sword. While they help those celebrating older reunions reunite and work out details online, younger generations already feel connected enough.

Ten-year reunions have virtually fallen off the map, he said, noting how 10 years ago they were at the same level as all the rest. Now, it seems, younger generations tend to regard such sites as reality.

"They don't know what it's like to get together and compare baby pictures or talk about their travels," he said, explaining there are still major benefits to face-to-face meet-ups. "A lot of them think, 'I text my friends. That's enough.'"

Gonzalez agreed that, for many people, that was enough.

Social media sites' reach extends far beyond classmates, even to those serving overseas in the military, looking to keep in contact with family and friends.

"I don't think people really need to all meet up in one place anymore," he said during a brief break from a basketball game with friends. "Everybody's connected."

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