May 21st, 2017

planet

my facebook birthday wishes

I'm not a fan of facebook birthday wishes, sorry to say it. Some people make it a ritual, every morning I think they wake up, facebook tells them who's having a birthday, they go write on all the walls. I am lucky to have friends, of course, but having my phone blow up all day and all the clutter on my timeline did not make me feel special. So after I turned 36 last year, I hid my birthday so no one could see it. I SWEAR I made it private.

So imagine my annoyance this year when it somehow snuck back in! Woke up to four timeline posts, I was at work and my phone notifications were all facebook. I could turn notifications off but I use facebook for lots of things like groups I coordinate, pages I manage, I kinda need to see those, and now I'd have to wade through birthday crap. Dang it.

I went back in and hid my birthday AGAIN hoping it would curb off the madness but a few people had already seen it so the messages didn't totally stop.

Then I got an idea. If all these bored people were on facebook feeling obligated to do something for me, why not harness the energy for good?

So I made a post.

"I'm 37 today," I said, "and just got an idea. If you're on facebook and wished me a happy birthday, thank you! But a better facebook gift? Publicize a cause! Share a post from some page that I love - Little Free Libraries, MakeICT, Amnesty International, UMCOR - United Methodist Committee On Relief. Or whatever you think I'd like from organizations that help & connect people. Tag me in it but don't write it directly on my wall because nobody sees those posts. I would feel very special :)"

And people did.

Some of them didn't exactly know what I meant by "share a post from a page and tag me" but a lot tried, and many succeeded! The best ones went... "It's sf's birthday today and she asked us to spread the word about great organizations, I'm picking ___!" Suddenly I was being tagged in all these posts about celebrity softball for the children's hospital, drag queen bingo to benefit victims of sexual assault, our annual Alternative gift market where people buy "gifts" in the form of donations around the world at holiday time.

Everyone's friends saw the posts and we all got smart reminders about things going on in the community that we could help out with. Everyone's costs were the same: a few minutes on facebook. But my heart felt much warmer. My birthday was much happier.