Happy Birthday to Me!

by Adam on December 27, 2012

Blogging is an interesting balance of internal and external forces. At one moment, it’s influenced by the news and information that takes place minute-by-minute online, and becomes a tapestry in that web (no pun intended) of information. At another, it’s a focal point for the life of the author behind it, and the personal experiences that influence the author’s perspective.

Taking a dose of the latter, and understanding of course that there won’t be many years left in which I actually celebrate and publicize the day of my birth, today I’m saying happy birthday to me!

Birthdays are an interesting time for both the recipient of birthday wishes and the giver. There are now so many ways to receive these well-wishes, and with the proliferation of social media and other digital outlets, the channels for delivery are as varied as the messages themselves. I always find it telling to see who calls vs texts vs posts on Facebook (not many people post on Twitter, but I’m waiting…). And there are many people who have their own opinions on this, with some dismissing Facebook as an impersonal way to send a greeting, although I will admit that it’s always ego-boosting to see the number of people who post on your wall during the day.

I also believe that our birthdays have also been further complicated by the fact that, in days past, the idea of a day devoted to you felt very special (and indeed it still is). But, in this new world where information, especially personal information, travels so quickly, it seems that Facebook and Twitter make every day a day that should be special for us. We all have news to share, whether about a move, or a job promotion, or marriage, and in this new environment the next big thing is only a tweet away.

I’m not sure where it is going, but it’s really fascinating to think about the singularity of internet sharing and our experiences with it. We have always been at the center of our life story, but what has changed is how easy it is to share it with our network. Imagine what it would be like if you went to a cocktail party and just spent the whole time talking about yourself. Nobody would want to hang around very long. Facebook et al are avenues where this practice is not only acceptable, but encouraged, both on our birthdays and every other day. I do wonder what this self-centeredness (for lack of a better way to put it) will lead us, and whether it’s helpful or hurtful to constantly be comparing ourselves to everyone else around us.

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