Monday, December 15, 2008

Social Networking or Blast from the Past?

Last night while waiting in Tampa for our long-delayed flight to New York, my colleagues and I had plenty of time to talk about a host of different things. Among them was Facebook, the explosively popular social networking site. One among us claimed he doesn’t want to have to accept a “friend request” from someone from 20 years ago just because the person contacts him.

Ironically, sitting in my inbox at the time of that conversation was just such a “friend request” from Craig A. Cunningham, the 1982-83 editor-in-chief of The Lafayette, the oldest college newspaper in Pennsylvania. Because I hold a different opinion of Facebook than my colleague, I accepted the request and am now “friends” with Craig. Browsing through his many on-line photos from those oh-so-long-ago days at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, I was surprised to find a “tagged” photo of (a much younger) me with other members of The Lafayette staff. Another photo, this one of Monica Van Aken, brought back memories of her oft-talked-about weekly column, “Things that Matter by Monica,” a pre-cursor to today’s blogs. In one particularly memorable installment, Monica hilariously described her adventure in moving from one dorm to another in the middle of the semester, and the ordeal of packing and schlepping all her worldly possessions across the quad to make the move.

And, although I wouldn’t say that Craig and I were friends way back when, I was, as a lowly freshman reporter, always pleased to get a call from him or one of his deputies – usually on the hallway pay phone on the third floor of Ruef Hall – asking me to cover a particular story for the paper. Following a link on his website, I found digitized images of The Lafayette and, perusing the site, located the first article I ever wrote for the paper: “Committee on Religious Program Coordinates Events on Campus,” which appeared in the October 9, 1981 edition of the paper.

Today, The Lafayette has a website of its own, Craig Cunningham is an associate professor and director of the Technology in Education Program at National-Louis University in Chicago, and Monica Van Aken is head of the Milwaukee Montessori School. Me? I’m still writing about many things, including things religious…

Thanks, Facebook.