Facebook vs. Class Reunions: It’s ON!
My 25 year high school class reunion was last weekend. Just like everyone else, I learned of which activities were where on Facebook. Event pages were created and invitations sent. There was to be an informal gathering at a bar on Friday, a family picnic Saturday afternoon and the actual reunion Saturday night.
The Friday night event was well attended. Not only by the class of 1987, but ’86 and ’88 as well. The bar was crowded and a good time was had by all. I skipped the picnic and decided to golf instead. Then came time for the Saturday evening festivities.
This event was held at a very nice resort and the meal was prepared pool side. After dinner we moved to a ballroom inside for the main party portion of the night. The DJ was the best I’ve seen in some time, he kept the volume at the perfect level so we could talk and catch up. And we had a private bartender. The decorations, complete with a balloon archway as you enter, were done in our school colors. All in all, a very well done event. So, why was it only attended by 50 people?
There were just under 500 people in my graduating class. I would have thought we would have a better turnout than 10% (that number is an estimate). The event organizers had one word on the subject: Facebook.
They seem to think that 90% of the class had the “anyone I want to talk to is on my Facebook friends list” attitude. That may have some validity. I have many friends from that era on my Facebook and we talk regularly. For some, high school was not a pleasant experience. So they’ll skip and use social media as an excuse. I cannot help but think there is something else missing from this equation.
It seems to me that people traveling in from other areas have friends and relatives living in our home town. They’ll want to see them as well as attend the reunion. With that in mind, maybe we try to pack too much into one weekend. My suggestion to future planners would be to bring the reunion down to one event. The Saturday night main event would be good for that.
I understand some people may not want or have the means to buy a ticket for dinner and the party. So make it a layered event. Offer one ticket priced for dinner and dancing, and one that is very economically priced for just the dancing. Keep the dinner for your class, but invite all alumni to attend after dinner. That way people from other classes can see their friends from the class in question.
Make the party fun! There are activities and games that can be played so people don’t just break off into the cliques they were in when they were kids. Turn this into something that will be talked about for the next five years so your next reunion will be even bigger.
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