Saturday, November 15, 2008

Birthdays 2.0

The other day I crossed the big 4-0. It was less traumatic than I'd expected, which might have been helped by it falling on a Monday. These days though it's hard for a birthday to go unnoticed, especially for those with Facebook profiles. A few years ago, it was really only family and close friends who would remember the exact day. If I organised a party (which I often did), or someone at work managed to find out, then a few more people would find out and maybe wish me a happy birthday in person, but that was it.

This year I was struck by how many different ways there are to wish someone a Happy Birthday ! In fact the most frequent way I was wished a happy birthday this was via people scrawling on my Facebook wall (36 in all), a method of felicitations that didn't even exist two years ago. Facebook (for those who aren't familiar with it) gives you 3 days notice of impending friend's birthdays, which is enough to ensure that most people are aware of it. At the other end of the scale, I received exactly one card in the mail - kudos to my cousin in England who managed to time it to arrive on the exact day. The next most common method was text messaging - a grand total of 8 messages, or 9 if you count the text from my local pub, telling me they'd added $10 to my card for my birthday (at least 0.1% of my annual spend).

Apart from that, just a couple of in-person greetings (maybe helped by being out of the office for most of the day) and surprisingly few emails (4, mostly from family) and phone calls (3 to fixed lines and 2 to mobile). Quite a contrast to only a few years ago. Despite having recently signed up to Twitter, I'm still not active, so there's a possibility of yet another new means to be commiserated with next year.

Below a summary of Duncan's 2008 greetings !

Facebook Wall 36
Facebook Message 2
Normal Email 4
Snail mail Card 1
Text Messages 9
Mobile Phone Calls 2
Home Phone Calls 2
Work Phone Calls 1
In Person 5