My how they’ve changed over the years! Yesterday was my birthday and I noticed a huge shift this year in the birthday wishes. I’m posting the stats below although it may be TMI feel free to do your own math to figure out how popular or unpopular I am. I’m more interested in the nuances of the different platforms and how the social norm of wishing someone a happy birthday is evolving.
To start, I’ll note that there were many more automated wishes on platforms designed to be social (Facebook & LinkedIn) than in the past. I didn’t keep a record last year, but now I have one for next year. The non-social birthday wishes nearly disappeared. I used to get e-Cards (remember those?), I used to get a lot of emails, I used to get more phone calls, and I used to get a lot more in person mentions. No I’m not more of a recluse than I was five years ago… times have changed…really!
I did get all the above, well all but the e-Cards. But the pattern was really different. LinkedIn added notifications of birthdays and noticed a HUGE uptake in the use of LinkedIn for bday wishes. Do social connections lead to deeper business connections? Well yeah – but only if the connection is genuine. A template birthday wish on LinkedIn may be different than one on Facebook.
It wasn’t just LinkedIn though, the act of wishing people a happy birthday is something we’ve been training ourselves to do differently. All the platforms with automated birthday notifications had a huge uptake in participants wishing me happy birthday. In fact I’m certain two of the in-person wishes and three of the emails were even due to notifications on one of those two platforms. What was fascinating though is that no one on twitter wished me happy birthday despite that being the single place where I engage most with the world. Granted I engage with people far outside my social circle there, but I intentionally do that on other platforms as well.
- Physical cards received – 3 (Mom, Dad, Kids)
- In person mentions – 3, boss’s boss, investor friend at the office, & Mom (I’d count my kids but they didn’t remember until my Mom came over)
- Emails – 7 (sister in-law, mortgage broker, city council candidate, Dentist, investor friend, bank, TraderPlanet.com, )
- Facebook – 80 (nearly all templates, a few custom notes, several requests to get together)
- Twitter –
- LinkedIn –
3538 (29 templates & 9 custom notes)
- Phone calls –
34 (Cousin, Brother, Dad, wife)
- Texts – 2 (wife, Cousin)
Note: several updates have been made