My 50th High School Reunion of the U-High class of 1962 is coming up at the end of May, but it really has already been happening over the last several months on the Web. A class of 100, which has dwindled to 80 with deaths and disappearances, has magically been brought together on the Internet with people sharing their stories, sometimes with amazing candor and sensitivity, like they never did in high school.
Yesterday, the group received the awful news that the wife of a classmate had died of a heart attack over the weekend. The heartfelt condolences have been pouring in to Bill K., a fellow many of us hardly knew in high school.
My classmate Bill K. has been one of the most open about his life’s triumphs and tragedies on the Web. I barely knew him 50 years ago and never connected with him over the five decades, but I grieve for him today because he has let me into his life with his revealing posts. I felt like crying when I read about his loss because he had shared several colorful and sometimes sad vignettes with the class in his writing.
I have become engrossed in the reunion process and have shared many stories about my life, hoping to move my classmates to tell their stories. Bill K. was one of the few to embrace the opportunity to openly share, including a story about his son’s death and the shattering experience of losing many friends on September 11. The Bill I knew as a funny prankster in school became a sympathetic, fascinating person on the Web, which is why he has received an outpouring of sincere condolences from classmates I am sure he barely knew long ago.
Reading the condolences was another reminder of the power of the Internet to bring communities of people together in a beautiful way. Facebook, though I mock it at times, is an amazing tool to connect people who would not pick up the phone or write a letter.
This blog’s ability to connect a community of disparate readers still surprises me. But it inspires me to push fresh ideas and expose my real feelings and personal stories. When I get 25 comments like I did on the last blog about the Caterpillar strike and several thousand people read the piece I feel good. The Today’s Machining World community is gelling and readers take precious minutes out of their days to share their thoughts. Does it change anything? You tell me if you think it makes the machining world a tiny bit better.
Question: Do you feel connected with the people who read this blog? Do you care about what they care about?