Opinion

Virtual birthday wishes are disappointing

When I think about it, it’s rather baffling that on one’s birthday, a flood of wall notifications comes in from virtually everyone, mostly strangers or brush-up acquaintances, who send their “best wishes.”

They might not have otherwise remembered nor cared if it weren’t for the list of reminders on the right column repeatedly staring them down. I don’t mean to sound entirely ungrateful because that I am not. But I also don’t see the magnificent gratification that comes from this.

When it’s my real friends’ birthdays, and friends being people I am close with and not those who become victims of others’ aimlessly directed, rapid fire wall posts (this shows up on feeds and looks like a desperate struggle for some form of stimulation from anybody as long as someone will respond), I like to text my friends or give them a call otherwise I know I’ll get overlooked in a sea of Internet anonymity.

However, a call then a wall post follow-up is fine if not a bit redundant.

Additionally, I’ve never understood the somewhat mandatory follow-up status update with “thanks everyone – you all made it great” or something similar. I find a quick wall post to be one of the more impersonal forms of communication especially on such a personal day.

If a few wall posts were really what made my birthday great, I would skip the celebrations and the cake altogether and just have a chat room to fully immerse myself in the virtual experience. If I don’t include a follow-up, thanking mostly indifferent do-gooders, have I become the jerk who reaped the benefits but did not outwardly convey my happiness to the masses?

Perhaps I’m over thinking the matter, but suppose someone wants to catch up and says so in a post. But, I fail to see it in the flood of messages: am I once again the evil one for not responding? Why has that person who didn’t want to hang out suddenly become interested in grabbing lunch; have birthdays become a wake up call to certain bystanders that we still exist and should be made more available?

Evan Seaman is a senior majoring in marketing. He may be contacted at eseaman@themiamihurricane.com.

September 25, 2010

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Evan Seaman

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