I love it when a birthday comes up for one of my online friends. It gives me the opportunity to make their day special AND have a little fun in the process. Sometimes for birthdays I might hack an image together…
Other times I may do a quick video…
My online friend is going to feel great when they see what I did for them. Truth be told, it doesn’t take long to create something that will be special and meaningful.
Sometimes Birthdays pop up unexpected leaving you little time to plan or prepare. The new Facebook doesn’t make it easier to see who’s day is coming up. Like many things that are important to me, I have bookmarked exactly what I want to see. Want to know a secret? It’s now hidden but here’s the upcoming birthdays for your friends http://www.facebook.com/events/birthdays/ click on that, bookmark it and you won’t get surprised again, right?
The Dark Side
I understand the dynamics of social media marketing. I understand by wishing someone “Happy Birthday” you are putting your smiling face in front of all their friends. But birthdays are special to me, they are probably special to them too. That’s why I don’t understand the people who “phone in” their well wishes.
Posting the exact same status update for every in your sphere’s birthday. I’m not talking about the drive by greeting “Happy Birthday Buddy!” – (everyone who sees that knows just how much effort it took). More like the creative sounding “I hope you enjoy your day! I hope this is the best birthday ever – make it a great one!” which might sound great to them and look great as a stand alone, but anyone who happens by your wall will see you said the exact same thing to the 20 other people. How special does that Birthday Boy feel now? Can you say marketing backfire?
There’s also the video version of this same tactic. While it may be popular to post a YouTube video of the Beatles singing Happy Birthday. That’s fine, but to every single person? Would it kill you to toss in a little Jimmy Buffett every now and then?
Let’s do this better
For your the next friends birthday try this instead. Take a moment and reflect on what that person means to you. Is there an inside joke between the two of you? How about something meaningful that has happened in the past? Need a little help? Go to their wall. On the top right you’ll see a gear. Click on the gear and the dropdown will show you “See Friendship”. Facebook will create a page that shows you exactly the ‘what’ and ‘how’ the two of you have interacted over time. You might even be surprised to see the last time you interacted was a year ago on their birthday!
How easy is that? So now that you have all the tools you need to wish that someone a Better Happy Birthday the question is – will you do it?