Last Saturday was my birthday. I’m now 54 years old. I’ve never been ashamed of my age, never shied away from a party or celebration, and always appreciated a bit of the spotlight – yet a few months ago I decided to hide my birthday from the people of Facebook.
1. Facebook does a great job alerting all your friends when it’s your birthday. They’ll even send you an email including all your friends birthdays in the upcoming week. Unfortunately, mixed with my real friends are a few thousand people I don’t know. For some reason they asked to be my friend and I accepted. I’m open that way. I don’t need or want my profile to be just my real friends as I actually get a bunch of business from FB. Accepting a friend request keeps a channel open for conversation and that could mean new business. That said, every single day there are millions of people wishing people they don’t know, a ‘happy birthday’.
Here’s why have an issue with that. I’m guessing they do it as some part of a social media marketing plan they have. They’ll post these messages publicly and with little regard as to who they are wishing these good wishes to. I’m guessing that they want their messages to be seen or they would have sent the greeting personally via messenger. Often times they cut and paste the same wish to everyone who has a birthday, everyday – and even year after year! I even wrote a few years ago (12/20/2011) how to “Do Birthdays Better“. On my birthday in 2012 I had almost a thousand birthday greetings on my wall. Sadly, most were of the cut and paste variety from people I had zero interaction with over the course of the prior year.
2. Personally, this is more important than #1 above. Facebook has this new thing of gifting. While they are prompting you to wish Steve Schmoe happy birthday they are also trying to get you to send him a gift. Fair enough I guess. I’m a capitalist, everybody needs to make money. But if you really knew me you might know I don’t go to Starbucks much more than once or twice a year. I don’t buy much music on iTunes either. I would never say this to your face but I actually get creeped out by strangers sending me gift cards. I’ll bet others do too.
If we really are friends, just wish me a HB in whatever way you want. I don’t need a gift card – I already value you. If you really need to drop some $ go find my Amazon wish list or better yet donate to charity in my name. That brings up another issue with FB Gifting. Charities are slim pickings. There are only 16 options to choose from. You can view the available ones here https://www.facebook.com/gifts/category/charities/329175040553334 but while those are all meaningful, they aren’t who I would like you to support. I wish I could pick the options available for my profile. Speaking of which, where were you when I was fundraising earlier?
Does that make sense? I hope this doesn’t come off like Mike is a Scrooge – it really isn’t. I try to appreciate everyone every day regardless of their birthday. The few people that knew it was my birthday also knew I was hiding my birthday date. Some posted on my wall, others saw that and posted belatedly thinking they missed the event accidentally. Facebook’s EdgeRank is supposed to deliver to you the things that are most important to you – it’s not perfect but I’m watching it in action.
If you missed my Birthday – understand this. It wasn’t you, it was me. I’ll also probably miss your birthday too. I still appreciate you just as much as I did the day before. Scratch that. I appreciate you even more because you are here reading this post. YOU ROCK!