Sidenote: I published this in 2012. While I cringe at how ‘unfluid’ my writing was, I still feel the same way. Little wonder I instantly loved Passenger’s I Hate, the first time I heard it years after.
I just couldn’t keep it silent anymore so I decided I’ll just say it. I hate both giving and receiving birthday wall posts on Facebook. You might hate me for saying this but there, I said it. Besides I’ve come to realise that if you are known to always say your mind, people tend to respect your opinions in the long run.
A very good Facebook friend of mine posted something one day regarding this. I found it funny but true. She said, “Birthday when I was a kid: Wow! Look at all of these presents! Birthday now: Wow! Look at all of these notifications!”.
You have to agree with me – everyone dreads logging into Facebook of their birthdays for fear of meeting their profile saturated with hundreds of notifications and wall posts. And they are expected to reply all of them?
You know what I hate most? Having to log into my Facebook on my birthday only to find hundreds of people ‘Happy-birthday-bro’-ing and ‘LLNPing’ messages on my wall.
Have our minds become so creatively dead that we have to resort to cliché birthday wishes? Most times I’m like “bro”? Who is your bro? We hardly ever chat since you added me. We hardly ever connect on Facebook, let alone real life. When we’re online on chat we ignore each other like we don’t exist. Next thing I know, you are ‘broing’ on my Facebook wall? WTH?
What social networks like Facebook have done to our social lives is to make us socially lazy. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook can be a very good socialising tool if used appropriately but we tend to misuse it more often than not. We think having more Facebook friends means we are cool. Apparently we are not cool enough to make it a point of duty to keep in touch with them. Why not have less friends that you can spend quality e-time with? We have this fake idea that we are really keeping in touch with all our Facebook friends.
I’m also not trying to lambaste the idea of Facebok notifying me of birthdays. I actually think it’s a great idea cos it helps me remember some birthdays I ordinarily wouldn’t have. I even have them sent to my smartphone daily.
It’s been about 3 or 4 years now since I gave up on Birthday Wall posts. Before you conclude that I’m a Grinch of some sort, I think you should know my philosophy about birthdays on Facebook.
My philosophy is that I make a point of either calling, texting or, at worst (in case I don’t have your number) inboxing people on their birthdays. If in the past years you have neither received a call, text or Facebook inbox from me on your birthday, there are only 3 explanations for this.
- It’s either I didn’t check Facebook that day or I had somehow disabled birthday notifications on my smartphone.
- It could also be that I just consider you what I call a ‘Facebook acquaintance’. Amidst all the hundreds of posts you would get, you probably wouldn’t even notice that I didn’t post on your wall. I’m not even on the list of people whose wall post you would be looking out for.
- The third category is people I am probably considering deleting soon. Their presence on my friends list is just as effective as their absence
Here’s how I decided I would start handling unwanted notifications on my birthday. I think it’s a really brilliant idea. It’s not exactly an original idea but I gave it an original name – ‘The True Facebook Friend Test’.
Facebook has been so nice to give us the option of disabling posts on our walls whenever we choose to. So I decided, starting from my next birthday, I will disable my Facebook wall for 24 hours (that is the full duration of my birthday). That way I would see how many of my “Facebook friends” would bother to call, text or at worst inbox me. That would definitely reduce my notifications drastically. Let’s be realistic. If you can’t take the time to call, text or, at worst, inbox me on my birthday, why bother ‘LLNPing’ on my wall in the first place?
What do you guys think? Would you buy the idea of the True Facebook Friend test? Or am I being to harsh?
Postscript: 2018 me has completely removed my birthday info from Facebook and disabled posting on my wall. 2018 me can’t wait till he can finally leave Facebook for good (again).