The amount of information you get online these days just isn't funny. It's helped me enough to catch up with old friends, but as I wrote to a long lost school friend I found recently, if I mentioned just how much information I'd got (history of work numbers, home numbers, mobile, mail addresses, home address, work address, education (places of, degrees, awards, scholarships), blah), folks'd probably think I was stalking them!
All of this was in under 5 minutes of searching.
It does reflect of course on just how well people who associate with me wind up doing :)
Hell, why not make this an ad for my school - not many people who went there gave it too much respect. There were teachers who weren't liked, concepts that no one liked, lots of snooty rich kids who actually thought they could buy other kids (and some did as well). I even remember an incident where there was a bit of a fight between two friends with one threatening the other with dire consequences of some form or the other. The next day two thugs landed up outside the gate with guns pulled out. I've got lots of great memories of the place (who doesn't have good memories of school?), but lots of these other ones that sort of make me not want to step through those gates till I've sorted out those demons. On the upshot, even folks who no one beleived would make anything out of their lives are doing amazingly well. I'm in touch with very few folks from those days (it's been 13 years since I finished from there and I didn't really get too many numbers from people - there were too many and I sort of didn't realise I wouldn't be seeing them for so long), but like I said before. There's the net and search. If you've written a paper, reviewed a book, given a musical instrument for repair, been registered on the electoral roll in India, asked for or given help on a public forum or written a blog, chances are it's not going to be too difficult to contact you.
It's been a month of "ghosts from the past". Met up with an old school friend who I haven't heard from/contacted since school finished. He's changed quite a bit, but he's just the same. Googled him, found out he's working with a US univ, that he's got his doctorate and he's doing research work. Met him after 13 years and it's pretty much like meeting a good friend after a year - with a lot more to catch up on and of course different types of drinks from those days.
Things were already starting to kick in with so many people getting on social networking sites. Orkut in particular has been growing in leaps and bounds (at least for me). I don't really get along with the concept of having 2000 friends on the list of which you'd know maybe 200 on decent enough terms to say hi to them and would have met maybe 10 of them.
Currently I've got 100 people on my friends list (it grows by one or two every week or so) of which I've never met 4. The rest are on my list because they're friends.
I always enjoy getting back in touch with old friends and it's great to know most of them are doing so well. You choose your friends - I've got proof of my impeccable taste.
You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the name of the school here... I decided to cut the ad out.