Today marks the end of a wonderful ride.  I just celebrated what some may call my "golden birthday," the day when your age coincides with your day of birth.  Well for me, I turned 23 on October 23rd.  An amazing weekend was had by all.  My girlfriend did what girlfriends do best and planned a surprise party for me.  My best friends showed up to have a couple drinks and it turned out to be one of the most fun nights I've had since living in St. Louis.  

Something about the traditional birthday has changed though.  It's a lot less personal than its ever been, but it's also a lot more fun.  Why?  Facebook, that's why.

The birthday has always been regarded as one of the most looked forwarded to days of the year.  I guess this changes a little bit as you get older and birthdays start to become more of a feared event than a welcomed one, but nonetheless, it has always been a special day.   It's a day when everyone feels like a king or a queen, the most important person on earth, and someone who deserves all the attention.  Social media has allowed us to tap into this feeling and get a lot more out of it than we ever have before.

What am I talking about?  I'm talking about the number of people who now know when your birthday is.  There was a time 5 years ago where I could count on my hand the number of people's birthdays I knew.  Now I have a rolodex of about 300.  Not only that, but we're alerted every day, sometimes weeks in advance about the next person in line to celebrate.

Talk about a confidence boost, and I'm sure most of you can relate, here's more or less what my Facebook looked like pre and post birthday.

October 22, 10:00 PM:  Six People Have Written on Your Wall
October 23, 9:00 AM:  Twenty-Four People Have Written on Your Wall
October 23, 2:00 PM:  Forty-four People Have Written on Your Wall
October 23, 11:15 PM:  Thirty-Nine People Have Written on Your Wall
October 24, 10: 00 AM:  Nineteen People Have Written on Your Wall

Needless to say, I, as I'm sure many of you can relate, felt like a million bucks. 

A lot of individuals negatively associate Facebook and birthdays.  The most typical argument I hear, and one I'm guilty of using myself, is the argument that Facebook takes the intimacy out of the birthday.  It allows anyone: friend, family, foe, enemy, acquaintance, oddball, stalker, or total stranger equal playing ground.  

After this past weekend, I tend to not use that argument anymore.  Sure, some of my best friends called me, some texted, and some wrote on my wall, but I say, it doesn't matter the medium, it's the message that matters, and I appreciate any and all comments I received.  

I'm turning over a new leaf.  Too many times have I neglected the opportunity to give a shout on a birthday.  Do I think birthdays are huge deals?  Not at all.  Do I think people really care if I write on their walls on their birthdays?  Not one bit.  But I do know that on a birthday, people should feel like a million bucks, like they are on top of the world, and like they really do matter.  A lot of the time, all it takes is two simple words, 24 characters, and the click of a mouse, "Happy Birthday."  

Many thanks from everyone who made me feel special on my day.  I hope that when your day comes, you'll pop open Facebook and feel exactly what I'm talking about.

Here's to another year.
10/25/2009 11:34:06 pm

Great story, I am so happy you enjoyed your birthday. I am so happy I was able to share in your day.Happy 23rd.

10/26/2009 02:49:09 am

Birthdays are the best, especially golden birthdays! I have always enjoyed reading the messages that people leave for me on that day. Hope you had a great birthday and many more to come!

10/27/2009 06:15:25 pm

haha my sentiments exactly, wish I was there bud, but I know you had a good time :) I'll see you soon...


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