Last month one of my facebook friends called attention to this article about how horrible it is that facebook let’s everyone know that it’s your birthday. Personally, I think the facebook birthday wish is one of the social network’s coolest features. Yeah, most of the people would have never known it was your birthday otherwise, but regardless, it’s still really cool to get a bunch of people earnestly wishing you happy birthday. Even if a majority of them are people you don’t interact with on a regular basis or even perhaps people you haven’t seen since high school or college.
My friend opined that he disliked the feature because he no longer got bonus points for remembering people’s birthdays. Whatever. Someone quickly followed up that facebook is no different than a calendar. Remembering someone’s birthday is nice, but not truly bonus-point material. In fact, I would say that a true friend’s responsibility is to know your birthday. In my mind, bonus points were always reserved for people who went the extra mile, such as sending a card or giving you a call.
I think that I particularly like the mass amount of birthday wishes facebook dumps on you because it helps to make that day just a little more special. I dislike making a big deal out of my birthday, but I enjoy it when other people make a big deal out of my birthday. And even though posting a quick “happy birthday” on someone’s wall is pretty easy, when a bunch of people do it together it gives the illusion that this day is special. And illusory or not, that’s pretty damn nice.