Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Forgetting Everything

This is a birthday book. It is simple to use, much like a calendar. Instead of writing appointments, you write in the birthdays of relatives and friends. Theoretically, one would look at their birthday book every 2 or 3 weeks to remind one’s self of a friend’s upcoming birthday.

I got my first birthday book from my mom in 2003. I have missed many birthdays since then (my brother-in-law’s a couple weeks ago), but I’ve also remembered so many more than I would have if I didn’t have this invaluable record of important dates.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, I turned 26 yesterday and besides immediate family, I didn’t get any birthday greetings. I wasn’t crying about it yesterday and I am not crying about it today. It is what I expected, but it got me thinking. We don’t have to remember birthdays anymore. Facebook remembers them for us. And since I haven’t been on Facebook for over two months, you didn’t know my birthday was, at first, next week, then on Tuesday, and now you know it was yesterday.

If I still had a profile on the social networking site I would have received a healthy amount of birthday wishes from many corners of the country. It was cool, back in the day, to feel important for one day after I got 20 people to say “Happy Birthday” on my wall, but if I had received one message, piece of mail, or a call yesterday from someone that had remembered my birthday using anything else besides Facebook, it would have been one of the best birthday messages ever, completely negating Facebook messages in years gone by.

If Facebook remembers birthdays for us, then what else is it telling us about our friends that we are no longer finding out on our own? I can think of several things. Many people share their political views on Facebook. I know whether it is safe to talk politics with you. Thus, I am selective in my conversations. If I feel like getting in a debate (very rare feeling), I know who to talk to. If I don’t want any of my positions challenged, I know who to talk to. If I don’t feel like confiding in a friend about a religious matter, then I talk to the non-religious people. Remember, you shared your religious views on Facebook. I also know your favorite movies and books and what you like doing on the weekends. We might spend hours in person with each other, figuring all this stuff out over beers, but that’s not necessary anymore. Isn’t technology great?

If you can’t tell, I don’t want Facebook to remember birthdays for me anymore. I am very sorry if your birthday was yesterday, last week, or last month and I forgot it. But I’m going to try to remember it next year with my birthday book. So leave a comment. Give me your birthday.

It’ll mean a lot more than writing on your wall. Trust me.

1 comment:

watchingprogress said...

I can total feel these sentiments. I used to have a phone with a designed birthday calender, but its gone now and I never found a replacement. Happy belated birthday!! I hope that you had fun down in the O.C.

Oh, and my bday is Nov. 15th.