One of the main activities that users engage in on Facebook is wishing people on their friends’ list a “Happy Birthday.”
It’s often cited as an actual reason not to quit the beast. “But I wouldn’t know when my friends’ birthdays are.” That’s silly, right?
I know I’m not the only one who believes that the greatest trick Facebook ever pulled was convincing the world it was necessary.
Calendars: made for dates
I believe in using the best tool for the job, and a calendar is an excellent tool to remind us of important dates. It’s a fairly simple task to set up an annual calendar event on the date your friend or loved one came into existence. In fact, you can even import/export your contacts’ birthdays from Facebook. If you’re truly a person who cares about birthdays, this is a much more effective way to keep track.
There’s no need to login to FB every day just to make sure you don’t miss a birthday. Does it really matter if today is the day that woman you met at a conference 3 years ago turns 50? Do you really care if your boss from the summer job you had in high school is one year older today? And if you do care, isn’t there something better you can do to show it?
Facebook birthday wishes are lazy. They feel superficial. They’re too easy and too abundant and that makes them less valuable.
Birthdays without Facebook
But I’m over here, writing from the other side of the chasm. I just celebrated my second birthday post-Facebook and I did not get a lot of birthday wishes. That’s OK. I’m a grown-up (sort of). I didn’t expect them, I don’t need them and I’m not disappointed. I had a great birthday!
Do you know who wished me an unprompted “Happy Birthday?” Mostly people whose birthdays are in my calendar. I remember their birthday and they remember mine.