The Feel Good Day of the Year: Your Birthday. How Social Media Has Revolutionized the Traditional Birthday. I Never Knew You Cared, But How I Thank You So.
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.