Thursday, November 18, 2010

On Facebook Birthdays (Or, 190 friends? How did that happen?)

Today (November 16) has been a glorious day, and not only because I celebrated completing another year of life. First, I received my annual phone call from my dear friend in Germany. Even though he was out of town on business and had to search desperately for somewhere to plug in where he was staying, he called me at 7pm my time, which is 1am his time. He'd been stuck in meetings all day and confessed to being a little drunk, and I love him for it.

Second, I received no fewer than 54 birthday wishes from Facebook friends - enough to keep me occupied all morning as little red flag announcements popped up in my FB bar minute by minute. It was great to receive good wishes from people who normally would have had no clue it was my birthday (and who probably wouldn't have cared for not knowing).  But as my profile page was filled with wall posts, it occurred to me...what about the other 136 friends in my list?

According to FB, I've got 190 friends, only 54 of whom cared enough to write a short message of happiness on my birthday wall, apparently. And that's just fine with me. Honestly, 54 is five times what I need. If I'd received 190 birthday messages, I might have found myself wishing I hadn't reached this annual milestone. So how did I end up with 190? Here's where Facebook annoys me.

When I first joined, back in 2008, I was very particular about who I requested friendship from and more particular about who I accepted if from. But just like in high school, where peer pressure forced us to sometimes hang with kids we didn't want to hang with, I've accumulated about 100 more FB friends than I care to have. (Not naming names here, of course.) I know how callous I sound, and I'm aware I may lose some FB friends in the wake of this post, but the good news is that any of you reading this are NOT part of the 100 or so I don't care about.

Conceptually, Facebook is a brilliant idea that has mostly been the funnest (yeah, I said "funnest") thing to come along since roller skates. I've loved reconnecting with people I thought I'd never hear from again, and more importantly, I love how connected I am to my overseas and out-of-state friends. For that, I thank the Facebook team almost every day. And as I stayed home today determined to write at least 1000 words, I didn't mind not accomplishing my task since I was busy chatting with FB friends in live chats or speaking to others on Skype (another worldly wonder).

Now, as I prepare to end my birthday, I will put my nasty attitude to rest and instead focus on the blessing of those friends who remembered me on my special day. My life is good and my true friendships - real and virtual - are beautiful. After dinner, I cracked open my Pei Wei fortune cookie and read, "Your life is a dashing and bold adventure." If the cookie says so, it must be true, and my friends are an integral part of it.


  1. I send you happy belated birthday wishes.
    I agree with much of what you say about Facebook. I've kind of taken a step back from it recently.

    Best wishes, Boonie

  2. Happy belated birthday, Wendy.

    And now that I look at the date, I have an apology phone call to make to my sister. I missed her birthday too. Yikes. It's been a busy week.

  3. The web is a strange place. So many you encounter in passing, but then a few with whom you make a real connection.