My “real” birthday is at the tail end of the holiday season. It has meant that it’s about the last thing people want to be concerned about or want to celebrate after all they have been doing is celebrating. As a result, I’ve come to loathe my birthday over time. I’ve wanted it to feel special and celebratory, but instead, it feels like an unpleasant obligation, kind of like doing your taxes.
So this year, I told my husband and kids I wanted to celebrate, instead, on the arbitrary day I chose as my online or social media birthday, February 2. My husband was rather happy, because he bought himself some time, and we did a lot of travelling over Christmas, making it pretty exhausting, coupled with his holiday call schedule. The kids thought I was a bit weird, but that was fine.
So yesterday, when I got up, I received all sorts of lovely good wishes on Facebook. I explained, for my long time friends what I was doing and why, and everyone seemed to be okay with it. I promised I would report the results, so here they are:
It was a fantastic day.
It was simply great. I had lunch with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, and was totally surprised when another friend stopped by (I had checked in on Foursquare) and dropped off a birthday gift! My family took me out to a fantastic dinner and my kids actually tried and enjoyed what I would term “grownup” food. We came home, did cupcake cakes (keeping things reasonable) and they got me a thoughtful and fantastic present that I will really treasure.
My social media friends were fantastic and kind. I felt like I had a lot of friends and a really caring community. A couple of businesses reached out through Facebook with a couple of offers for discounts, etc. clearly based on the marketing data provided by the “adopted” birthday. And best of all, I had a birthday that really felt special and celebratory, rather than perfunctory.
Thanks to each and every one of you who read this blog, who connect with me on various networks, and for letting me experiment.
While I wonder whether switching this demographic piece of data both for security and convenience purposes will effect online identification from time to time, I think it’s mostly a harmless vanity of sorts. Kind of like celebrating President’s Day instead of Washington and Lincoln’s Birthday separately. It’s a small switch for convenience, but the intent remains the same.
And it really rocked. Thanks.