Beki Grinter

Happy Birthday from Facebook

In social media on June 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm

On my birthday I’d like to begin by thanking everyone for the best wishes that I have received today. They actually started coming in yesterday because some of my facebook friends live in New Zealand and Australia where tomorrow comes a lot sooner than it does in the United States thanks to time zones.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with a small child a couple years ago now. Knowing that it was my birthday he asked whether I was going to have a party. I think he was hoping for cake and presents. And at his age that’s exactly what I was hoping for too (I was also hoping not to have any type of final test on my birthday, an experience that only ceased once I finished an turned in my dissertation, ON MY BIRTHDAY). But, as we all know, as you get older, you don’t tend to have parties and celebrate with a lot of people. And that’s just fine.

But, I do like the best wishes from facebook. Just to hear from, and give out, little “happy birthday’s” and to know that they come from friends, family, colleagues at GT, former colleagues, my invisible college of professional colleagues, people I went to kindergarten with, and more generally the mix of people who represent the sum of my life experiences makes my day. I appreciate the time given. I also appreciate all the different memories that it recreates for me. I thought about walking to kindergarten, about my life in University and the people I met there (faculty, staff and students), the warmth of Southern California, a chance meeting in Metz, a committee in which I learnt a lot about leadership, about those people who’ve written recommendations for me and reviews of my work and encouraged me to be better, and about family old, and acquired. All of these thoughts and more triggered by the best wishes of others.

So thank you for the best wishes and thank you for the memories of y’all. I figure that’s a really good replacement for jelly and ice-cream. And besides I always was a bit crap at pin the tail on the donkey.

  1. Happy birthday Beki! And just to be contrary, I have to mention that I took my birthday off Facebook because I generally don’t like the greetings. It struck me as weird to get birthday greetings from weak ties. Last time I had my birthday on Facebook, I got a happy birthday from an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in 15 years who didn’t ever wish me happy birthday when we worked in the same building. It rubbed me the wrong way.

    I have enough fb friends now (whether I like it or not–I’m bad about saying no) that if I wished people happy birthday I’d have three or so to do every day. What’s my algorithm for who to greet and who to ignore? It makes my head hurt to contemplate coming up with a rule!

    This ties in to some of the things I’ve been pondering lately about slacktivism, and the broader value of very low cost actions. I haven’t figured out what it means yet though….

    Well, happy birthday anyway. 🙂

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