No, You Cannot Have My Friend’s Phone Number.

My mother, who recently turned 39 again, is gearing up for the high school reunion which got put on hold for the duration of the pandemic. As a part of that, the reunion chair has been sending out mass mailings begging people to turn in the classmates that the “committee” hasn’t heard from, yet.

It’s a small school, but there’s a rag bag of computer ability levels, and now and then, someone hits that “reply all” button and reminds me that nobody ever told these kids the things they should know about the internet… And let’s be honest, life in general.

I suppose we could start with the “reply all” button, but that horse is out of the barn.

Let’s start for that droning plea for help “finding” someone.

This is the internet age. Chances are pretty good that your school hasn’t moved, and many of your classmates’ email addresses haven’t changed since the dawn of time. It’s not that difficult to google your school’s name (YEAR) Class reunion. If someone hasn’t taken the .000946 seconds required to do that, it’s a pretty good guess that they are not in contact with your class because they don’t want to be.

Yes, believe it or not, some people do not want to go to class reunions, or hear from you.

I am not 4-1-1.

Repeat that with me. I am not 4-1-1.

I will not give you anyone else’s contact information.

If you ask very nicely, I might pass your information on to them, at which point it will be up to them whether or not to call you.

That brings me back to the reply all button, and masking e-mail addresses.

Just because a classmate doesn’t mind you having their information doesn’t mean they want everyone to have their information. There’s a different dynamic with every single person in class.

An unmasked email list isn’t just asking for their information. It’s turning around and handing it out to a few hundred of your closest friends.

And the fact that someone tells you they’re the homecoming queen or the captain of the football team doesn’t necessarily make it true.

Go. Have “the talk” about safety with the “thirty-nine year olds” in your life.

Tell me about the egregious violations of internet safety that have been bopping you over the head, lately. What do you wish the people you love knew?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: