Friday, December 19, 2014

The facebook birthday wishes

The thought for this post first came to my mind probably 2-3 years ago and the will to write about it simply kept on increasing over the months. There is no doubt about it that facebook has made our lives a lot easier by reminding us of all the birthdays that we would otherwise forget for sure. I was in for a surprise this morning when I clicked on the today’s birthday link and in the text box which used to be for writing our birthday wishes, a sample text appeared: Happy Birthday, FirstName!

This facebook ‘improvement’ immediately brought me back to this blog post and I felt I ought to post this right now.

Source: Google
Our closest friends would perhaps ignore facebook completely and call us up to convey their wishes on our birthdays. Many would take up the cheapest and easiest new-mode in the market- Whatsapp. Text messages are now defunct, but you might receive that one rare text message from a friend.


It's actually weird how birthday wishes work these days. Our birthdays are once-in-a-year reminders of how much our relationships have changed within the last year. People, who were there with you celebrating last time, don't even wish you this time round. Ones you have not been in touch with at all, unexpectedly give you a call and make you feel why you didn’t value that relation and promise yourself to wish them on their birthday. Ones you were in touch with once, but lost touch over years and got in contact within the last months, are the first to call you up and wish you the best at midnight.

And there are ones who are there…every time...year after year. No matter what, howsoever tiring the office timings might be, they take out time for you and are part of your celebrations.

The birthday wishes

Now about wishing people on their birthday on facebook: We generally tend to do this when the birthday boy or girl is one we are not in touch with on an everyday basis, or one who we communicate on facebook more than on phone, text or whatsapp, or one who we simply want to maintain a good PR with, or one who we haven’t been in touch with in a long time and take the opportunity to get back on terms. At this point, we open facebook, see that there is a birthday, open the link and type in a short message to wish them. (Don’t we want them to reply to the message at least to acknowledge they saw it?) There are actually a few types of wishes that people make, or should I say, there are a few ways in which people write their birthday wishes on facebook. Check if you have come across any of these kinds:

  1. ‘Happy Birthday’- The simplest kind. Making their presence (and wishes) felt to you. Nothing more. Nothing less.
  2. ‘Happy birthday bro/bhai/dear (and/or a happy smiley)’- The brotherhood kind. These wishes probably come from people who have been good friends with you at some point but you have recently lost touch, although the feelings and respect for each other remain intact.
  3. ‘Happy birthday Name (with or without a smiley)’- I have been a believer of taking people’s name when addressing them. If nothing else, it makes the message slightly personalized. It’s not a simple Copy-Paste message after all. Probably it triggers the feeling ‘the guy made an effort to write my name and wish me’.
  4. ‘Happeee Buddaaaeeey’- the cute kind? Or the I-don’t-know-the-spelling kind? If not the former, then don’t you know it takes less effort to write less number of characters? Why the extra e’s and d’s and a’s?
  5. 'Hpy bdy'- the most irritating kind. Text messaging times are long gone. If you are truly making an attempt to make a wish, why do you want the other person to feel that you have no time at all, not enough even to write the full form of these two words? Why even make that attempt to write those 7 characters? Why waste 7 bits of storage in facebook's huge data centre? Don't wish, that's better, the person wouldn’t care.


And the replies

Most of us openly display our birthday to our entire friend list and keep our timeline open for friends to post. They wish us on our big day. But we probably never care to reply to them, let alone reply to each one with a personalized message.

At the most, we ‘like’ the posts and make a ‘thank you all’ kind of status update. Ok, understood that we do not have a couple of hours time to reply to each one of the wishes, some of which are surely very personal wishes from good friends and some are surely from friends willing to maintain a simple and good PR with you. But come on, we facilitated them to start a communication, why ignore them and keep those messages to a one-way communication thing only? I am sure we can spend a few extra minutes and reply to each one of the messages with a simple ‘thank you’ and may be even get in touch with friends we haven’t spoken to in a long time. Probably there is a humour-filled/nostalgia-filled message from an old friend who is trying to get back in touch. Doesn’t do any harm, does it, knowing what everyone’s doing with their lives? No? Don’t be anti-social when you are on a social networking site! (The clever ones usually send a personal message on facebook, which you tend to read and reply more often than the huge number of timeline posts)

I hide my birthday

I remember when I first got on facebook, I hid my birthday from the world. And at the end of the day, I posted a message on the lines of ‘thank you everyone who remembered and wished me on my birthday and a bigger thank you to those who didn’t because now I know who you are’. When I reflect back on this, I feel stupid. And more so, because there are people who still do this today. Why do you want the whole damn world to ‘remember’ your birthday and wish you and in case they don’t, why do you have to get irritated or angry or disappointed with them? It’s your birthday. It’s an important day for you. People who consider you important will wish you, no matter what. And there is always the chance that your closest friends or even cousins or relatives might forget your birthday and not wish you. Be angry, fine, but come on, the other person relied on facebook for wishing you, like everyone else, but your birthday never showed up as you categorically hid it! A big blunder, is it?

Yeah, technology is making us its slave. Whether we want it or not, we are relying on facebook more and more. And the latest improvement on facebook will probably make us a little lazier. But thank god, facebook wrote the whole words and used punctuations. We wld nw c a lil less of dis.

5 comments :

  1. Well i agree with your 2nd last para reg. personalised reply. I do.
    But don't agree with last para. I hid my birthday sometimes.. coz the whole list of fb friends are not actually those friends from whom you expect and from those you do are the close ones who will remember that big day.. just a suggestion if you really care you would put an yearly reminder and not just depend on fb.. i agree people tend to forget so why not take extra efforts to remember and wish your close ones on their special day!! :)
    Btw Nice post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks Stuti!
      Thanks for sharing your view..and as I mentioned clearly for the closed ones- "People who consider you important will wish you, no matter what." And so, your point accepted! :)

      Delete
  2. Wow....what a roundup, least to say, how much I agree to this. Nice post!!!

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