I travelled with a friend during the summer for nearly three weeks and have known her for a number of years. Today I nearly forgot her birthday, the only reason I didn’t was a stroke of luck and noticed other people wishing her a happy birthday on Facebook.
On Monday I wished one of my best and oldest friend a happy birthday. His birthday was Sunday.
The common denominator is that I wasn’t reminded by Facebook, in the first instance my friend has not added her birth date onto Facebook and the later friend does not have a Facebook account.
I will try and use the excuse that I am a man and don’t remember these things. Which is true. But the underlying reason is more likely that I have developed a reliance on Facebook to remind me of something I should know well in advance.
I have always held that I knew the birthdays of most of my good friends and family. It turns out that is not always the case.
The thing is, I only really check Facebook once or twice a day and barely post anything. I could adjust to survive without it, but it makes me wonder whether we have collectively become reliant on social media, not just remembering birthdays.
Do we need social media to keep up with what our friends and family are doing, where somebody is going on holiday, getting a new job or promotion? It extends to major life events. I have a friend who found out about her good friend’s engagement on Facebook along with the rest of the world, although I’m sure this is an extreme example.
We literally learn about the lives of our friends on a newsfeed.
This is not always a bad thing.
I enjoy looking at the photos posted on Facebook by friends while they are travelling or family photos I otherwise would likely not see, at least not instantaneously. I learn things that I would not have otherwise known, social media has meant I have spent hours watching pointless, yet funny videos.
I use Twitter to streamline articles relevant to my work, my personal interests and hobbies.
In healthy doses I think social media is a good thing, we are social creatures and this is new way to connect. I do not believe, as we are all too often told, that it has replaced more traditional means of connecting and socialising.
I have really gone off on a tangent and forgotten the original reason I started writing this blog post. Oh yes, our reliance of social media.
To some degree I think we are, but before social media we were reliant on a diary or an Outlook calendar. The only difference being social media is open to the public, other people can write in your diary and change the notes. It’s here to stay, so change your date of birth on Facebook, see how many people wish you happy birthday on a random day of the year and be thankful you aren’t the only one who makes the same mistake.
Have a good day!