Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happy Birthday in the Weird World of Social Media

I remember when birthdays were a quiet thing. A few phone calls from first degree relatives. A couple of cards from extended family members. A special meal with family, and a couple of gifts.

Now there's Facebook.

Birthdays are have become a multi-media event. The phone rings, repeatedly, a friend drops by with a giraffe toilet paper holder, there are text messages from cousin, my kid, my kid's girlfriend, a friend of my other kid, and yes, a text message from the Vision Care place where I get my contact lenses. My father-in-law sends an e-card with music. Forty of my closest friends, including people I haven't talked to since elementary school, and my prom date, wish me the best. The request to serve on yet another committee comes in an email and notes "Happy Birthday." And yes, the Vision Care place also sent a happy birthday email, complete with animated balloons. For the first time ever, my beloved sibling seems to think that writing on my Wall suffices and I don't warrant a phone call, and this year, I did not get a greeting card from the Toyota dealer.

As long as the roses and chocolate continue IRL (in real life), then count me in! When the cake turns virtual, I'm signing off.


Sarebear said...

I hope you had a very happy Birthday, Dinah!

Anonymous said...

I sent an online friend a virtual cake, some virtual balloons and a you tube video of chipmunks singing Happy Birthday.

Edward W. Darell, M.D. said...

I've been a guest blogger on your site in the past. I loved this post.

Since becoming an adult (of sorts), I've never given much thought to my birthday.

Even though I have felt a little hurt and unloved (on principle) when I haven't gotten a lot of birthday cards, I could always count on one from my insurance agent and my broker.

I recently (In Sam Goldwyn's immortal words), said, "Include me out!" to Facebook and Twitter. The latter due to a growing lack of interest in what one of my two followers was having for breakfast, the former because ol' Mark's drones were posting my face all over the web and almost forcing me to like or dislike things. And like many shrinks, I have more than one opinion about most things.

Even though I've never been interested in or good at staying in touch with a lot of people, I still believe in quality over quantity. Holiday newsletters, for example, raise my blood pressure to near-CVA levels. What possesses people with tenuous family links to presume that I would care if little Maisie got braces on her teeth?

I feel that Facebook, when it reminds me of my "friends"' birthdays, is sticking its cybernose into my business. If I've forgotten those birthdays, it's usually for a good reason.

I felt much more grateful when a zealous pharmaceutical rep. stopped at my apartment house the other day to drop off a carrot cake with his business card. There's no way he could have known that I hate carrot cake, but at least it wasn't virtual.

Too bad I closed my Facebook account. I just might have "friended" him!

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