I really have no desire to talk to the majority of people I went to school with. School wasn't exactly my favourite place — so why on earth do I have my name listed on a site that helps you get in touch with old school friends?

Well, partly so that I can tell you all about it, of course. But also because it's pretty much the thing to do around here these days. The UK's own Friends Reunited website was set up in October 2000 and registered its millionth user on 25 August this year.

And I have to admit that now my name is up there I'm feeling a little annoyed that no-one has got in touch yet.

The site has a database of around 35,000 current and former schools, colleges and universities in the UK. You can log on, find your school and post contact details or a little autobiography saying what you're up to. And, of course, have a nosy at what everyone else has been up to in the intervening years.

The idea has really taken off in the past few months, said Julie Pankhurst, one of the site's founders. She set up the site along with her husband Steve because she was pregnant, bored and wanted to see what her old friends were up to — and particularly to find out who had families of their own.

By the end of last year 5,000 people had registered, and a combination of word of mouth and media attention has seen it grow to the point where 20,000 people a day access their school pages. The Pankhursts have given up their jobs, invested in 20 servers and hired three full-time staff just to keep the site running and answer the 1,000-plus emails a day they receive.

One user who has become hooked on checking the site is Toby Burton, a London-based drugs counsellor. "My sister told me about it, because she'd seen a couple of my old girlfriends on it," he said. After exchanging emails with these old friends, he has started to check the site every few days — using the internet more than he ever used to, he says — just to see who has registered.

There have been some mix-ups, he said, with one person contacting him thinking he was someone else, and another who claimed to remember him but he couldn't remember her.

On the upside, Burton saw an entry from a man who had been "a real whipping boy at school, and now it looks like he's doing really well". "It's nice to see those twists of fate," he said.

As for my own lack of messages, Pankhurst assured me that I mustn't feel hurt — it seems most people just browse to see who is there and only a very small proportion pay the £5 annual charge to join and be able to contact other members.

When they do, though, they tend to write to thank the organisers — hence the thousands of emails. Old friends have got in touch, and families have been reunited after years of separation, said Pankhurst.

And now, of course, there are requests from other countries to set up similar systems. "We're always being asked," she said, "but we want to get on top of this one first."