As the summer heat rises in the northern hemisphere, the great outdoors beckons families for fun. Reunion season is at its prime as clans come together for barbecues, brunches and bashes. These days, more and more families are finding Facebook to be a convenient tool for coordinating their festivities.
Reunion Planning Goes Paperless
For Crystal Graham Bell of Raleigh, N.C., the logistics of planning her family's bi-annual reunion have always been difficult. With extended kin up and down the East Coast of the U.S., communicating decisions and plans was time consuming and pricey.
So this year she had an ultimatum for the family: "We're doing everything on online this year—no more snail mail!" Crystal proclaimed.
Crystal used the Facebook Events application to share details with her family about this year's summer reunion she's planning for July in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event has become a central resource where guests can RSVP and find information about the location, accommodations and even a link to the family's full reunion website.
Because Facebook Event administrators are able to send messages to all guests at once, Crystal also has found it easy to update everyone at once and to stay organized.
Reaching the Younger Generation
When Trina Williams created a group on Facebook for her family, she loved the enthusiasm she saw as several of her younger relatives quickly joined. Now 50 members strong, Trina's group allows the Williams family to share photos, memories and announcements in between their formal reunions.
"It seems like everyone is enjoying the group, putting out pictures and connecting now and then," said Trina of Lithonia, Ga. "We've even had relatives we've never met before join the group!"
In preparation for the family's summer 2011 reunion in Atlanta, Trina posted the reunion details to the group's Events tab so that all members could easily make plans to attend and RSVP.
Inspiring Family Elders
Inspired with what a helpful tool Facebook was in planning her high school reunion, Rita Chavez Perez of Torrance, Calif., decided to give it a try for her family's next big bash. She was overjoyed at the response from family when she created a Facebook event and invited 50 relatives.
The invitation spurred many of her elder family members—in their 60s and 70s—to get on Facebook, too.
"They're in love with Facebook now," Rita explained. "It helps everyone keep in touch. Nowadays, we can contact our great aunts and uncles to say, 'Hey! Let's grab lunch!'"
A Reunion Every Day
Growing up, my family always came together around activities like Caribbean food and salsa dancing. Now that we're scattered in different places—my parents in New Jersey, my cousins living in Alabama and New York, and me in California—we come together most frequently around Facebook.
My little sister, Mariel, constantly makes me laugh by posting videos to my profile Wall.
After my parents filled out their anniversary on their profiles, I remembered to call them when the date arrived in February. When my grandmother renovated her house 2,500 miles away in Largo, Fla., I was able to view all of the hard work she put into it through photos she posted on Facebook.
Reunions don't always have to be formal or planned. My family and I take comfort in knowing that on Facebook, we're always together as a family.
Melody, a specialist on Facebook's user operations team, loves viewing old family photos on Facebook.