Pro: Facebook is fine, face-to-face is better
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.
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Victoria resident Amy Sodolak's small Wallis High School didn't have a 10-year reunion, but she said she would have liked the chance to visit with old friends.
Keeping in touch with people via Facebook is good, she said, but isn't the same as being face-to-face.
Social media sites have brought a drop in 10-year reunions, where classmates tend to be more connected to begin with, but they play a major role in facilitating later ones, said Rob Hirscheimer, president and co-founder of MyEvent.com.
One of the biggest issues in planning such events is locating classmates, he said.
"People try to put lists together and can usually get information from the school. But a lot of times, after 10 years, that contact information has changed," he said. "Facebook bridged a bit of a gap."
According to "Social Side of the Internet," a Pew Research Center study released in January 2011, 59 percent of Americans said the Internet had a major impact on a group's ability to organize activities.
Also, Hirscheimer added, nothing replaces an in-person visit with an old friend.
"When you talk about 20- or 25-year reunions, a lot of time has gone by," he said. "People have changed a lot in one way or another in where they are in their lives. People like to still experience a hug or a face-to-face meeting."
Meeting up at friends' homes, for instance, allows the kids to play and friends to reminisce about their time in school in ways that online chats simply can't.
"I'd much rather see people in person," said Sodolak, who teaches in Ganado. "Hopefully somebody will get their act together so we can have a 20-year reunion. It might have to be me."