Fall 2012

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ArLynn Presser: Face to Facebook

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Ever wonder about those strange designations we use throughout Northwestern to identify alumni of the various schools of the University? See the complete list.

Not every New Year’s resolution is doomed to fail. On Dec. 30, 2010, ArLynn Presser (L85) broadcast her plans to meet each and every one of her 325 Facebook friends by the end of the year. “Too far away was something I wouldn’t accept for myself,” says the 51-year-old mother from Winnetka, Ill.  Countless media outlets, including London’s Daily Mail and Good Morning America, tracked her “Face to Facebook” journey across 13 countries and almost every state. They also captured her struggle to overcome the anxiety and agoraphobia she’s lived with for 30 years — a fear of everything, she writes on her blog, punctuated by “crushing panic attacks” every time she leaves the house. By the end of the year Presser had met 90 percent of the people on her list. Most of the others were “dead, spambots or in prison,” she says. She is working on a book about the experience. “I think this project has a lot to say about social networking and media and how we use it,” she says. Now that she’s back home, Presser is working to help other agoraphobics leave the house. “It’s the give back year,” she says. “My friends were very, very kind to me last year. I want to pay some of that forward.”