Over the last few years, I’ve written several posts about the dwindling functionality and, ultimately, usefulness of certain social media platforms. For example, some three years ago I noted that I closed down my MySpace and LinkedIn accounts. And here we are – three years later – and I have no intention of opening up either of those accounts again. Sure, a lot of people tell me to reopen my LinkedIn account so I can shore up certain professional contacts in a worst case scenario (i.e. if I need to find employment quickly), but I have no interest in maintaining a presence on that platform at this time.
Which brings me to one of the two social media platforms where I do maintain accounts: Facebook.
I’m sure that most of the folks reading this entry have a Facebook account – it seems like most people on the planet have a Facebook account these days. And, if you’re like me, then you’ve noticed something weird about Facebook in the last few years. No, it’s not the fact that Facebook seems to constantly change their layout without the consent (or considered happiness) of their users. And no, it’s not the fact that spam-loving companies have found a way to breach even Facebook’s strong security measures. Instead, if you’re like me you’ve noticed that Facebook has been reduced to a single phrase for most people…
“Happy Birthday, buddy!”
I can’t tell you how many of my Facebook friends only interact with me on my birthday. And, admittedly, there are scores of my Facebook friends who I only interact with on their birthdays. Over the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to not send happy birthday greetings to people who I wouldn’t go out of my way to call or text with the same message. Sometimes, I find that there are social strictures that require me to send someone a happy birthday note. Other times, there are folks who I would go out of my way to say happy birthday to if I saw them during the day, but I refrain from doing so online because it seems somewhat weird.
But more than any other observation about the oodles of birthday messages that are flung around Facebook, the most pressing observation is just how weird the whole exercise is for everyone. I mean let’s be honest – how many different ways can you say, “Happy Birthday, [INSERT NAME HERE]! Enjoy!” or something similar each year to the same person before it gets redundant, repetitive, and just bizarre? With some of my Facebook friends I’ll go in and check what I wrote on their wall the prior year and most of the time the message that I’m crafting for the new happy birthday message is eerily similar.
The whole thing is just bizarre to me. However, the weirdness factor aside I have no plans to get rid of my Facebook page. The truth is that Facebook is too ingrained in our society today and we are all too reliant on that particular social media platform. So, while I may be a little exasperated with the happy birthday messages that I see on there every single day, I think it’s just part of the platform that we’re going to have to accept.
By the way, my birthday is next Tuesday, January 31st… and I’ve grown to expect many birthday greetings on my Facebook wall!