Oops. This happens to me all the time with my friends. Even there were years when I’ve forgotten my birthday. I remember only a handful of my friends’ birthdays, if not for Facebook (and others services). So I thought I’d see if it’s just my problem or a common problem. It would make me feel less guilty if its common to miss wishing a friend on their birthday. (There is this “other-person-in-me” that feels wishing on birthdays in not necessary, but lets keep that loner out of this post.)
How I avoided the Facebook-effect on my birthday (and felt lonely)?
This “go-secret-mission” started when I set my birthday visibility on Facebook to “Only Me”, so that no one would get any notifications. Then a week ago I disabled my wall and commenting to my posts, to help the ‘secret’ live long. The only way left on Facebook was to send a message. I thought everything is set, but it was not the case.
I have some active friends on Orkut, and I had my birthday displayed there and got few scraps out there. Then there is Skype, which pops up when a contact is having their birthday. This brought in couple of more wishes before I removed my birthday from Skype profile. I also had few automated wishes from MediaWiki, Ubuntu, Tolly Torrents and FlySmiLes, which I don’t mind anyway (Note that I use my real birthday all around online). On Saturday the 13th November, 2010 (of course the timezone differences are bit confusing) I was all set to avoid the “Facebook-effect”.
How the “go-secret-mission” end? Who (else) wished me?
It ended that way that would make me comfortable and happy. I have just above 500 friends on Facebook, which I have kept almost constant for the past two years. (Obviously 500 is little too much for a loner like me). Everyone would agree its normal to get around 100 wall posts on your birthday when you have 500 friends on Facebook. I got about 10. Also there were few more on Orkut and via Skype, Google Chat and SMS. All would round-up to about 25.
Offline; I don’t really exist as an acceptable social animal offline, and I never expect anyone to wish me (I would be rather surprised). Got calls from “appa”, “amma” and my sis, and also from some close family and a good friend. So it was as normal as always.
I believe that the era of greeting cards and birthday diaries is long gone. Even the days of phone calls and the phone books are past. The natural change of time has brought us all to the Facebook era (or any name you would like to call it) and we all learn to live along with it. So lets share our birthdays with friends online, otherwise you might feel lonely as I did today (specially if you are a loner like me).
Friends, sorry for doing this stupid “go-secret-mission” to celebrate my birthday. I didn’t mean to be offensive to anyone in any sense. I rather wanted to reflect on how things are with me, and I’m happy that I’m “normal” in some sense or the other. Cheers…!
[Update] How I missed the global effect?
I published this post on November 13th, 2010 at 23:59 Brisbane Time. I also posted updates to Twitter and Facebook. I wanted to post it at the end of the day, but it was still November 13th in half the world, and in some places they were in the early day. This is what the timezone confusions I mentioned above, but forgot that before publishing. We are truly living in a global society.