Monday, December 7, 2009

The Facebook Birthday

Since an ever-increasing portion of the wired world is on Facebook, we are quickly getting closer to having a truly universal directory of mainly real people. This directory stores quite a bit of data - in particular, nearly every member's birthday.

With this broad knowledge of birthdays comes a broad stream of birthday reminders. Never will anyone forget a friend's birthday - as long as that friend is a friend via Facebook. This comes quite in handy as positive reinforcement for celebration and recognition. But it also poses some interesting conundrums. What if a good real-life/Facebook friend doesn't send even the smallest acknowledgment on your birthday? Facebook diminishes the forgetfulness excuse. So what we end up with is an even more complicated social norm with an even greater number of potentially real or illusory implications. So much for making life simpler...
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