The Social BirthdayOver the past two years it seems that birthdays have changed significantly. On Tuesday, my 39th anniversary of life on this planet, I experienced my second “Social Birthday”. What I mean by this is that the traditional methodology of friends and family wishing me a happy birthday has officially evolved from a phone call or greeting card to a text or Facebook message.

The Social Birthday actually begins the day before the actual birthday. There is no doubt as to why this is, since Facebook lists your FB friends birthdays for you, sometimes showing you who will have one the next day. It is clear to me people actually look at this stuff daily and make a practice of wishing their FB friends a happy birthday on their birthday (plus or minus a day).

My Social Birthday
Happy Birthday, LOLTo show what I mean about birthdays becoming Social Birthdays, let’s look at my birthday greetings. I received:

  • 8 text messages
  • 3 physical greeting cards in the mail
  • 1 phone call greeting (thanks, mom!)
  • 1 e-mail greeting (Thanks Shawn Porter)
  • 107+ individual birthday greetings on Facebook, beginning several hours before my birthday and ending the day after my birthday. These greetings came from friends and family both, and some included some “wonderful” facebook application greeting cards. I’m pretty sure there were more greetings hidden in comment threads, but I didn’t go back and count those.

Additionally, I received quite a few in-person, real social greetings from my wife, kids, co-workers and friends. One friend (@ShawnHashmi) even picked-up my lunch check.

I should note that my mother contacted me in the most methods: phone, Facebook, text, and physical greeting card (including a check!) Thanks, mom!

My Conclusion
It is clear that birthday’s of old are gone by the wayside. Having said this, and while I greatly appreciate all of my “Social” birthday greetings, my birthday was most complete by the “Happy Birthday” from my daughter Braelyn (who peeked around the corner of the shower), my son Brody, step-son Spencer, wonderful wife Rebecca, my mother who called me and my friends and co-workers who said it in person.

There is definitely a place for the Social Birthday and it is great to be able to send and receive FB greetings to those we don’t interact with as regularly. I guess as I think about March 21, though, I just wish there was more personable interactions with those we are truly closest to than a thread on Facebook or a text on the phone.

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