A few weeks ago I started writing a post about how Web 2.0 fails folks like me. I’m glad I didn’t publish it. Why’d I draft it in the first place? Well, for people like me who were getting out of high school and into college in the mid-nineties, just before the Internet went wild, it’s tough to see the value in a lot of social media.
It’s taken three generations of major social networking sites to even scratch the surface with my former classmates, but Facebook seems to have accomplished something neither Friendster nor MySpace could: I’m in touch with folks I haven’t been in touch with for over a decade. Does it make me feel old? A little, but I can handle that when a social network does something more than delivering tailor-made ads.
In the past few weeks, I’ve reconnected with swathes of people from my past. I say “swathes” because once you’ve connected with one friend, you’re bound to find five to 10 more. Last week I opened a memory wormhole that put me in touch with people from my exchange year in Denmark. It’s been amazing sharies stories and photos and also to catch up with people. Now I’m making plans to head back to visit with Helen next April. That should be a ton of fun.
So while it would’ve been nice to have kept in touch with everyone via email and IM, I’ve found new perspective. Maybe we’re the last generation to grow up “disconnected.” For me, it was a chance to distance myself, literally and figuratively, from my hometown. It was a time to gain some perspective. Now it’s time to reconnect, catch up, and reminisce, and that’s not so bad.