How Facebook Makes High School Reunions So Much Better (Especially if You've Gained a Few Pounds)
From the CEO: Eve Mayer Orsburn | @LinkedInQueen Remember those pre-Facebook days when high school reunions were stressful events that drove people to do desperate things just so it would appear that their lives were perfect? People would stay in unhappy marriages, put off rehab or invent career success stories in order to prove to their old friends how great they had turned out. Meanwhile, everyone at the reunion would try in vain to keep their mouths from dropping open at the sight of the hot jock who showed up bald, the big nerd who got rich and the cheerleading captain who got fat.
One of my favorite examples of this pre-Facebook behavior is evidenced in the movie "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.” Romy and Michele pretend to be highly successful businesswomen, showing up in fancy cars and clothes, and claim that they invented Post-it notes. It might have been possible to get away with such a falsity before Facebook, but not anymore.
Facebook has a way of putting it all out there, even when you try to be coy about it. Some assumptions that are likely to be drawn about people based on their Facebook pages are:
- Profile picture is cropped very closely to the face or only pictures of dogs or children appear. In real life, they are likely hiding double chins or balding heads.
- Relationship status changes often and doesn't list if interested in men or women. In real life, theyhave probably been through lots of partners and may be gay or bi-sexual.
- Someone other than Mark Zuckerberg lists Entrepreneur as their title for the past 15 years and posts their score from Farmville 6 times a day. In real life, they are probably unemployed and still living with Mom and Dad, although they may occasionally deliver pizza part-time.
Facebook has taken the shock away from the high school reunion experience, and I, for one, am glad. My high school reunion is just a few short weeks away and I can't wait to go and catch up with old friends. I'm excited to see people and hear what they have been up to, and I'm not worried about their reaction to the fact that I look pretty much the same except that now I'm - well, how should I say it? - supersized. I'm not planning a drastic plastic surgery during the next two weeks because, thanks to Facebook, my old high school buddies already know I am no longer a size 8.
Facebook also lets me share the many reasons I have to be grateful in my life today, without coming across as a pompous jerk at the reunion. For example, I’m thrilled that my old friends have already gotten to know my family, including my hilarious 5 year old daughter and my handsome husband of 11 years - even if they have not yet met in person. I am also proud that my former high school classmates may already know I am a CEO and a published author.
The truth about high school reunions is this. During 20 years, it is highly likely we have all experienced one or more things that we wish others didn't have to know about including:
- Getting Fired
- Getting Fat
- Getting Dumped
- Failing miserably at something
But also during the past 20 years since high school, it is also highly likely that we have done one or more of these things:
- Loved someone
- Helped someone
- Had a child
- Won something
- Created something beautiful
- Accomplished a dream
So you might as well tell the truth on Facebook because -- guess what? Your friends are imperfect too. Plus, perfect people are extremely hard to come by, and tend to be boring. In the end, a high school reunion -- like Facebook -- is a place where people get together with others to catch up on old times and to share what is going on in their lives today. Let Facebook set you free, and have the time of your life at your school reunion.