PEOPLE

Searching for Former Classmates

Among the many good things in life are our memories. For those of us who have already been through the many levels of school, there are undoubtedly a lot of friends that we made along the way that we've drifted apart from. Whether it was college, high school, junior high, or even elementary school, there's probably not a day that goes by in which we're reminded of people from our past.

There are a number of sites out on the web that are dedicated to helping web surfers locate and communicate with former classmates. As with any activity on the Internet these days, one needs to be somewhat cautious when inputting personal data online. But all is not gloom when it comes to submitting personal data, for Unless you do so, how can there be any expectations of contacting former schools/friends, or being contacted by them?

As a general rule, websites do adhere to privacy policies, for the most part. One example is "Classmates.com", which is a well thought-out website, with privacy terms and disclaimers that explain about their collection of personal data. A lot of ground work went into this site, as well as many others on the web, in which a prospective member is asked initally to select from a list, the state in which their high school (or other educational institution) resides. From that point on, the web visitor goes through a series of screens and sub-menus, until eventually a list of schools is displayed for each city/state, and within the school listings, a recognizable list of classmates' names may be found.

While not intending to promote one site over another, by listing a website with which this editor is familiar, namely "Classmates.com", it's easier to document the general features of these types of websites. Classmates.com allows new web visitors to create and post a free profile, which is viewable by other prospective classmates visiting the site. "Classmates" also offers a "Gold" membership for a yearly or multi-yearly fee, which gives members the ability to view former classmates' current location, as well as the ability to determine who has visited and signed a person's profile, and also the opportunity to exchange classmates' email addresses.

One point that was a little unclear on Classmates.com during general web browsing was a reference to 'other communities'. Basically, 'other communities' is just another term for 'other schools' that the web visitor has attended. Other than that minor point, Classmates.com is a very appealing web tool if you're looking to explore friendships and acquaintances from your school history. You should feel safe to set up a preliminary profile through this website. Other sites that may be of interest are "Alumni.net" and "Reunion.com" (which is now "MyLife.com"), just to name a couple.