Virtual Reunion

4/4/06 2:10 AM 0 Comments

In a little less than 6 months, you too can experience a virtual reunion…

I signed up for the ever-popular about the same time I started this blog. I was very hesitant to join at first, considering all of the horror stories I’d heard in my education classes. They told of teens posing nude, vulgar language, and pages that would make Brittany Spears blush. I was expecting every crazy person on the internet to have an account. Luckily, the stories were only partially true.

My friend and cohort Citizen remained absolute about the entertainment value of MySpace, and now I’m glad she lured me into it. The site has helped me give birth to my alter ego – Black Beard of the Salt Sea, has given me a place where my dorky tech skills can amuse others, and last but not least introduced me to some really awesome folks. The main hook for me is the ability to find the people who made the 4 years I spent in Appalachia the best years of my life.

When you actually matriculate from a university of the size I escaped, there are always promises between friends of keeping in touch and getting together in the future. For your close comrades, this happens. For those you spent countless hours with, it may not. Faced with relocation, job searches, and the BIG life questions, it’s easy for some people to get lost in the mix. Sadly, I lost touch with many people during this confusing time.

Enter Technology and its Awesome Powers.

MySpace started a ripple in my social life that has been extremely rewarding. I can find people from my high school, old college, or current college. If I have your email address or know your first and last name, I can find you too. Through this annoyingly fragile yet extremely random site, I have reconnected with old friends, found new friends, and strengthened tenuous relationships. For me, the best feature is being able to see my friend’s friends. The old adage “It’s a small world” is extremely true in some cases.

After finding my pals whose numbers or emails have changed and playing “catch up” (much like TD and SFG), I couldn’t resist the urge to try for more lost connections. One technology gap for me was the loss of my AIM (AOL instant messenger) password for my original screenname. My theory is that I signed up for it with a free email address that has been converted into a pay service. Anyway, AIM was all the rage back in my college days, and the loss of my screenname meant the loss of my buddy list and the ability to contact friends I used to see on a regular basis. Again, Technology and its Awesome Powers came to the rescue.

Using my AOL address book, I have the ability to find screennames for people whose email addresses I have. Even if their email addresses are no longer valid, the association with their AIM screenname remains. This works for anyone who accesses email through Screenname Services (hotmail, AOL, yahoo, etc). I took a chance the other night and clicking the running man to “send” some IMs to folks whose addresses I had and wanted to contact. Luckily, AIM performed as expected and opened a blank slate for me that included the screenname of the person I clicked. With this new found method, I began to add screennames it provided. This was a bit dicey at first, since no one I added was online and I wasn’t sure the provided screennames were still active.

Flash forward to tonight. I took a chance and IMed (instant messaged for the tech-challenged) a guy I spent 3 out of 4 years hanging with in college. Since I hadn’t spoken to him for 4 years, he wasn’t sure exactly who I was, or what I wanted. A few IMs and a phone call later and we’re reconnected. Luckily, he was drunk at the time and more susceptible to investigating strange messages. After talking to him and playing an abbreviated version of “catch up”, I now have his new number and found that he is still pals with another mutual friend. The bonus: they are both within my socializing range.

So, if you haven’t checked, I highly recommend it as a good starting place for your own virtual reunion.

If you read this blog and are interested in being one of my MySpace friends or want to see the legend of Black Beard of the Salt Sea at work, check out


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents