It’s mine. Those of us who are out here in the blogosphere preaching about how to use Facebook properly for your business – we’re the ones to blame for your Facebook page’s failures. Don’t pick on your marketing manager. Don’t pick on the nephew who’s running your search marketing. Don’t blame Facebook or Google or the media. You can blame the government if you’d like – I’m okay with that.
There, I said it. It won’t be a popular opinion and many can counter it by saying all of the wonderful things that Facebook does for birthdays (such as remind us when they are, which is the part I love), but the end result is an utter destruction of the birthday construct that has lived perpetually in western society for centuries and that was nearly perfected in the 20th century prior to the rise of the internet in general and Facebook in particular.
We used to get cards. We used to get calls. We used to get visitors. Today, we get wall posts. Last year’s birthday was the first time I noticed the dramatic drop in my phone ringing. I don’t do family holidays outside of my immediate family so my birthday and the birthdays of my friends and relatives was a reminder to catch up, to ask my brother about his family, to make sure that my cousin’s old dog hadn’t died yet (it persists year after year going on 2 decades now), to hear about how an old buddy from college or even high school had finally gotten married and would have sent me an invite if he knew I’d moved to California.
Last year was different. I was offended. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the birthday party or birthday gift type. Like I said, birthdays represent a day of communication with those who don’t live at my house or work at my office. When I received nil in the form of phone calls last year other than my mother, I wondered what had happened. I called a friend who informed me to look on my Facebook wall.
There they were. A ton of Happy Birthday messages from friends, family, coworkers, and even a few people I didn’t recognize. It was nice at first, but then I realized that I didn’t have a chance to catch up with my brother, to talk to my cousin, or to muse with an old buddy. They did their duty. They wished me a happy birthday. I was unfulfilled.
Please, if you’re out there and if you’ve allowed Facebook to become your birthday greeting method, step back for a moment. Which is better – a wall post or a phone call? Don’t get me wrong – Facebook has allowed me to wish acquaintances happy birthday in ways that I would never have had before. I wouldn’t have called them, sent them a birthday card, or gone by their house. The ones close to me, though – Facebook isn’t enough. It’s gotten to the point that it’s so personal that it’s almost impersonal.
Use Facebook for the people you don’t know very well (or don’t like a whole lot). For the people you really care for, pick up the phone, send them a card via snail mail, or drop by to say high. In person. Face to face. With a real voice.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t post on their wall. That’s for the public. Post a funny picture of them. Write them a poem for the rest of their world to see. THEN, pick up the phone or hop in the car and make an appearance.
Every now and then, it’s good to get a pulse from the general Twitter population about preferences we have as humans. This weekend, we’re looking at the not-often-considered question of itching versus pain.
This stems from my adventures at SXSW last week when, unfamiliar with the incredible infestation that many call “Texas Mosquitoes”, I found myself bitten from toe to scalp. Itching, to me, is the worst. I’ve experienced constant pain before and it sucks, but I have to say I’d rather have constant throbbing pain (headaches excluded) rather than recurring itching, particularly below the knees.
How does Twitter feel about this particular #HumanPreference? Retweet this if you’d take a pain over an itch.
Every year, I ask the same question around the end of December. Every year, I answer my own question by saying that people are going to eventually learn the difference between going directly to a website by typing a domain name into a browser and typing the same thing into a search engine like Google.
I’m in it. I’m stuck in the trap in the worst way and have no excuse. I’m one of those sad souls who know that what Facebook does is wrong, how they do it is worse, why they do it is almost unspeakable, and yet I visit the site every day. Every few days I think, “Today’s the day. I’m going to do it. I’m going to kick the Facebook habit and delete my account.”
Facebook sharing has gotten out of hand. Gone are the days when we shared what we wanted to share rather than having everything we read, watch, listen to, or simply open pop up on our friends’ feed.
It has been well-blogged already that news of the east coast earthquake traveled so fast on Twitter, people were reading about it on their computers and mobile devices before feeling it reach their location. This is an interesting fact, but nothing earth-shattering (well, literally, yes, but… oh, nevermind). It’s happened via television and telephone for years.
It’s a neat little fact. It’s also at least a little tasteless.
When it comes time to let off steam, some people use exercise to relieve stress and direct their energies into something productive. Others use eating, meditation, and even sex as a release valve. I read Gawker. I read Gawker when I’m in a particularly trollish mode because I normally disagree with their opinions, their style of delivering their opinions, or both.