A Social Experiment: The Day I Decided to Remove my Birth Date from Facebook

Remember the days when we would still take note and mark our “real” calendars or planners with special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries of our families and friends? In case you get confused, yes, I am talking about the ones made of paper with numbers and letters in it. 😀

With the convenience of our present technology, everything is just a click away. No need to write or take notes. Most people don’t take notes anymore. Attendees of seminars or meetings will just take a photo of whatever is written on the board. If it is a PowerPoint presentation, you don’t even have to worry because for sure the presenter will send you a copy via email. I think, the main function of ball pens nowadays is just for signing and not much of writing like before, agree?

planner

Berry’s Finest – The Day I removed my Birthday from Facebook

When it comes to special dates, no need to fret because Facebook will save you. The social network sends you a notification to remind you of a person’s birthday as long as they are on your friends’ list. Whether you are close or not in real life, you can have the chance to greet the celebrant online. This works vice versa. On your special day, you’re overwhelmed with so many wall greetings and well-wishes from your online friends.

Suddenly you feel special, right? Flooded with greetings like a celebrity. 🙂 You even receive greetings from people you cannot even recall how or where you’ve met, most probably because you met only once or maybe she was a friend of a friend but added you and you accepted the request.

facebook

Being a Facebook user for almost 8 years now, I always have my turn for that once-in-a-year-fame that I was talking about. In return, I do the same for the people in my list. Every day, every birthday notification that would appear on my screen, I usually type Happy birthday! or Happy Birthday! 🙂 (with a smiley).  Or If I know the person, then I’ll add some wishes and click post.

One time while browsing the birthday notifications for that day, I stared at my screen because I can’t decide if I should send a greeting or not. Sounds petty, right? You might be thinking, how hard will it be sending a simple “happy birthday” to his or her wall,? The thing is, the last time I had an interaction/communication with this person was last year when I greeted her on her birthday. Nothing else. I don’t even know her email address or mobile number or her whereabouts. We never chat nor exchange likes to each other’s posts. Not even a single comment. In short, we’re strangers, in both online and real life. Tell me, did the same thing happened to you? I would guess it did.

What if your birthday is not on your Facebook profile? How many of your social network friends would truly remember?

MY POINT IS…

Year after year, we send out greetings to our online friends and in return, we receive the same from them. But have you asked yourself, what if your birthday is not on your Facebook profile? How many of your social network friends would truly remember? Or do you think they will even remember to greet you at all? How many of them remember your special day by heart?

happy birthday

THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT

So for this year, just before my birthday, I decided to do a social experiment. I “removed” my birthday information from my Facebook profile. By removing, I meant that I changed my profile setting and my birthday details can only be viewed by “Only Me.” (If you want to do the same experiment, click here for the information on how to remove your birthday from your account) I’m aware that this will potentially hurt my feelings, but I also want to know who among my online friends remembers without the help of a Facebook reminder.

THE RESULT:

As expected, my Facebook profile was quiet, just like how it is on a normal day. My family and I were exchanging WhatsApp messages and they greeted me, asking me what I’ll do the entire day. Out of my 400+ friends on my list, I received 5 birthday wishes and 1 of it was a personal message thru Facebook. One was a close friend since primary school while the other 2 were former colleagues from my last company and the other one was our former housemates whom I treat as one of my sisters. I was not expecting them to remember, but they did and I was touched. 🙂

Facebook birthday meme

How did the experiment make you feel?

The way I look at birthdays is the same with holidays. It must be a fun day! A day to relax and be happy. To me, birthdays are worth celebrating because you are welcoming another year full of great and promising things. Yet for this year, my birthday was a little different. Less noise and fewer people. But my day was still special and I want to thank my husband for all his efforts to always making me feel loved even on regular days. Also, to my family and those people who did not forget. 🙂

Meaningless connections and Temporary happiness

Disappointed? A little bit because there were expectations especially from my closest friends. I thought they’d at least remember the date by heart, the way I remember theirs. It’s just sad. :/

But come to think of it, this experiment was another eye-opener for me about social media and how we, as users, are provided with meaningless connections and temporary happiness.

How the number of likes boosts one’s self-esteem and how we overshare things because we are so hungry for that temporary attention thrown to us. We’re made to believe that our social network community cares, but the truth is, they are either curious or, in this case, just reminded by the system and just going with the flow.

If that’s the case, then I prefer to keep things in my social network profile the way it is right now and I will continue to do what I have started six months ago – sending personal messages to the people who matter to me and greet those whose birthdays I can remember without the Facebook reminder. 🙂

happy birthday from facebook

Your worth is not measured in likes, comments, notes or followers, but in your ability to love, keep comments to yourself, take note and lead.

- Anonymous

xoxo berryduchess