Sunday, October 4, 2020

Birth Daze

[If you are reading on a smartphone, use landscape mode / hold phone sideways]

I do love that feature of Facebook that reminds you of where you were, what you are doing - ON THIS DAY - in the past. Last year, five years ago, all the way back to your first day on Facebook. It (usually) is a happy time, something that brings back memories of good times with friends, family or colleagues. The Facebook algorithm controls the ordering and presentation of posts, so users see what is relevant to them. Rather than publish content chronologically, posts and ads are presented based on what Facebook sees as relevant to you, the user. 

Both LinkedIn and Facebook have that feature that allows you to wish everyone a "Happy Birthday" online. For the last year, I would always start my day in Facebook by saying: " wishes you a very Happy Birthday!" which is a cool (sneaky?) way of having my 5,000 friends on Facebook ALSO connect with me on LinkedIn. Let's just say that I am indeed sneaky cool - and we'll leave it at that. So, every morning for at least the last year, I would say Happy Birthday to around 10 or 20 people on Facebook. All 5,000 of them would hear from me, over the course of 365 days. 

This past week, I had 5,000 people on Facebook wish me a Happy Birthday. And around 15,000 on LinkedIn. All at once. I'm not even sure how many of these people manually wished me Happy Birthday, or if a "bot" did the wishing for them. 

This year, I got one Birthday Card in the mail, from my sister. Just one. I'm not complaining, and I have zero stock in Hallmark. But I did notice the paper card that required a purchase, a stamp and effort many times more - thousands of times more - than the "Happy Birthday" wishes on social media. 

Birthday Cards made me start thinking about business cards. When was the last time I exchanged business cards with anyone? The new world of COVID-19 might have killed off the business card industry. I remember when "electronic" business cards were supposed to kill off paper business cards a few years ago. I remember when "bumping" your smartphones together would swap info, so that there would be no need to carry a pile of business cards to your next trade show or event. That never happened, the paper business card never went away. Until now. 

I tried saying "thank you" for all of the birthday wishes on social media, but it soon became too much. Someone on my staff made me a graphic to put up as a blanket "thanks" for everyone. This might be the future of the Happy Birthday thank you now and forevermore. I'll keep saying Happy Birthday to everyone on Facebook (manually) every day. I will not be doing the same on LinkedIn. I mean, I just can't do it. I just can't go there, it's too much!

I have learned that there is an automated way to say thank you (in bulk) to social media Happy Birthday posts. But this is starting to get a little weird for me. It's like "my bot" thanks you for "your bot" wishing the real me (not a bot) a Happy Birthday. I decided that I am not going to do that either. 

Yeah, Birthday Cards and Business Cards. For me they are (both) now a trip down memory lane. 

I have a box of business cards that might (now) last me for many years. I hope that I will need to re-order business cards sometime in 2021. I miss exchanging paper business cards, in person, in New York City. 

Yeah, exchanging business cards, in person. That might be the thing that I miss most of all. 

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, everyone!

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