Some might say that Facebook has helped extend our “birthday power”. We are able to see who has a birthday now and in the future just by looking in the top right of our Facebook profile. It’s an excellent little calendar that makes the special day of the year for our friends and family easy to keep. No more marking up calendars hung on refrigerators once a year – Facebook is a birthday tracking machine.
Moreover, it gives us a quick and easy way to give our birthday greetings to acquaintances. We might call our mom, take our buddies out for drinks, or throw a party for our kids, but Facebook gives us the ability to wish even the most obscure acquaintance a happy birthday. Unfortunately, it seems to be abused by the natural tendency of humans: laziness.
This is a special day. It only happens once a year. In the digital world communication has become simple. This should improve our creativity rather than detract from it, but judging by the birthday wishes I’ve seen sent out through Facebook over the last few months it’s clear that it has not.
One step. That’s what Facebook gives us. Instead of going to the store, buying a card, writing in it with an actual pen, putting it in an envelope, putting a stamp on it, and dropping it in the mailbox, all we have to do today is say something nice and push send. Why, then, do the majority of people simply say, “Happy Birthday!”
The exclamation point doesn’t really make it any more meaningful.
Stop saying it. Take a moment. Think about the person. Say something to them that’s meaningful. Tell them you two should catch up soon. Wish them success in the coming year of their life. Grab a Bob Marley quote to accompany your greeting. Do something other than typing out the basic 13 letters plus a space. Fight human nature. Facebook is a wonderful tool that should empower us to be more interactive and personal. Don’t let it be a simple checkmark on your interpersonal to-do list.
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“Birthday” image courtesy of Shutterstock.