Rainier, Oregon as viewed from Longview, Washington (from Wikimedia, and taken by a cousin of mine, coincidentally)

I grew up in a tiny town in North-West Oregon called Rainier. As of the 2000 census, the population was 1,687. It’s probably not much more than that today (perhaps even less). The sign on the way into town has read “Population 2000” for as long as I can remember.

To be more specific, I grew up in one of the several “unincorporated communities” surrounding Rainier, so I wasn’t counted in that 2000 census (not for Rainier, anyway). I had a Rainier mailing address and a Clatskanie phone number.

I recently stumbled upon the blog of an old high school friend and fellow ex-Oregonian Chris Brewer. There is a recent post on there about Problems in the Rainier school district, which sparked a some nostalgia and inspired me to check up on my old hometown.

I found Chris’s blog because it is linked to on his Facebook account. Fairly directly, the power of the Internet as a world shrinker has been shown to me. Because I decided to log into Facebook I now know more news about my home town that I would have otherwise, way down here in Austin, Texas.

Not only that, but I just spent most of my lunch break finding and reading various information about Rainier. There’s quite a bit of history behind the little city, more than I’d ever thought to even look into during my 18 years of living there.

It’s interesting how people can be brought back together, at least in a virtual manner, from all the places they have scattered around the world. That’s the real value of social networks to me: keeping in touch with people you already know, not meeting of new people. Either way, they seem to work pretty well at bringing people together. I can’t see social networking going away in the near, or even in the distant future for this very reason.

Perhaps this social networking business isn’t such a bad thing to be in the middle of after all.

blog comments powered by Disqus