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They say it’s your birthday

9 March 2016

Not exactly about books, but an interesting observation.

From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:

Have you ever considered how the advent of digital technology has changed a simple thing like your birthday? It bemuses me every time my own special day comes around.

. . . .

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way birthdays went from a day to feel gratified at friends who cared enough to remember, to a day you get spammed with Happy Birthday notifications from everyone you’ve ever met and every place you’ve ever signed up online. Just consider how many different sources you get it from now.

Facebook tells all your friends what day it is. So does Google Plus, and even Skype. Many online BBSes keep track of birthdays and send their members an email on that day. Amazon reminds anyone who’s added you to their friends list two weeks ahead of time so they have time to get you something. Restaurants where you’ve registered for their discount program will send you an email coupon for free stuff.

. . . .

I got up at 1 a.m. this morning for a few hours of net surfing and writing before going back to bed at 4:30, and within ten minutes of getting to the computer I had been wished happy birthday twice on Skype, once on Google Hangouts, and four times on Facebook. Seriously, wow.

Link to the rest at TeleRead

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10 Comments to “They say it’s your birthday”

  1. Follow the money.

    There’s big buck in those digital greeting cards and whatnot and more people will waste/spend more money on them if they know ‘when’ to …

    To me it’s just another trip around the sun and I deliberately don’t go out to eat on my birthday. I prefer a have quiet meal to a bunch of people I don’t know yelling about it being my birthday!

  2. I don’t provide my BD on Facebook. The reason? Identity Theft.

    And also, I’ve reached the stage in life where that number is somewhat depressing to think about. 🙁 (But, hey, I guess it beats the alternative!)

    • I use different birthdays for different sites, so I get happy birthday messages every few days :).

    • Our website at work used to ask readers for birthday, sex, and zip code. I’d always respond with a combo of my father’s info and make-believe, so the system thought I was a man born in 1955 and I lived in 90210. My boss caught me one day.

      “But none of that is true!” he gasped.

      I shrugged. “I refuse to make it profitable to get between me and anything I want to read.”

      Eventually they stopped asking.

  3. Maybe I’m still young enough that I appreciated not having to pay for my coffee and chocolate one day out of the year. Or maybe it’s because my birthday falls on a holiday, and it’s nice that SOMEONE acknowledges MY birthday even if I pay them to do so. 😆

  4. I’ll cop to enjoying the birthday greetings. Mostly because I’ve reached a point in life where the perfect balance of oblivion, denial, and delusion keeps me going every day. Thus, I’m able to convince myself that everyone one of them is heartfelt, even if it’s more that they’re just easy.

  5. I tell all sites that insist on having my birthday that it’s 01/01/1901. I don’t get many b-greetings, so I think they’ve figured out I’m fibbing. 🙂

  6. I always avoid sharing my birthday with sites and even people I know. It’s got nothing to do with age, I’ve just never seen the point and wish everyone would go bother someone else.

    A lot of this modern harrassment is easily avoided if you don’t give people the ammunition.

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