On Facebook, Friends and Birthdays

I had an interesting experience yesterday:  it was my birthday and I received more congratulatory messages from companies of which I am a client and organisations to which I belong than from friends and relatives.  The only reason, as far as I can tell, is because my birth date is not visible on my Facebook profile (call me crazy, but for some reason I think it a bad idea to post personal details on public websites; you may call me paranoid, I call it good common sense.)

See, in the days before Facebook, people kept birthday calenders with the birthdays of everyone that’s important in their lives (I still do, so I guess I’m paranoid and old-fashioned).  On the birthday you called them, sent a card (later e-cards), or even went to congratulate them in person.  With the advent of the cellphone, texting became an acceptable alternative, as it’s still direct communication with the person, somewhere between a card and a phone call.  But today most people prefer to post a message on your Facebook wall.  Besides being extremely impersonal (and publishing what should be private messages on a public forum), who wants to spend their entire birthday in front of the computer checking their wall every few minutes?  People also no longer keep birthday calenders because Facebook reminds you when it’s someone’s birthday, so why bother?

All this led to me having a pretty depressing birthday, as not even all my immediate family and less than a handful of others remembered about it.  Apparently you have one of two choices:  either broadcast your personal info on-line for any identity thief to get, or go without anyone remembering your birthday.  Those few rebels and weirdos who still do not have a Facebook profile must really think no one on earth loves them, as they probably never get congratulated.  How would you congratulate them in any case, seeing as they don’t have a wall to post on?

If anyone who did congratulate me is reading this, thanks for taking the time to remember.  And a shout out to Makro, Vodacom, Exclusive Books and Nu Metro, the South African Blood Bank, Unisa and Optirama optometrists Kroonstad for making me feel special on my birthday.

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