Birthdays in the age of Facebook

Yesterday was my birthday. {Pause} Thank you. It was a nice day. All my Facebook friends knew about it.ecard-2

Ever since Facebook came into my life, or, rather, I came into Facebook, birthdays have become a cyber event of obligatory well wishes and thank yous to people you probably would not even know if not for the largest social networking site in history of humankind.

Almost every day at least one of my Facebook friends celebrates a birthday. An alert pops up on the side of my Facebook screen, and I can easily type a few words into a box, press enter, and wish a far-flung acquaintance a happy birthday. If I know something about that person that goes beyond our passive sharing of random information and photos on Facebook, I might add a personal flair to my post, like: “I hope you have a great day with the family” or “Make sure you get enough rest after your debaucherous extravaganza birthday celebration so you can function properly at work tomorrow” or “I wish we could celebrate together, I miss you!”

As I get older, I have grown more fond of strong connections than loose bonds with people. I can count the number of people I talk to on the phone regularly on one hand. Even with the continuously growing forms in which we can connect with others and our ever-expanding social networks, I am finding that those close friends and family members are the most valuable relationships. They are even more precious now that I’m reminded how man loose ties I have out there with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube…you know, social media. I am proud that I can remember a good friend’s birthday without being reminded by Facebook. {Aleza, yours is March 3.}

Don’t get me wrong. It feels good to get dozens of people wishing me a happy birthday, and I enjoy sending a good wish their way when it’s their turn. But what feels even better is a phone call or a text from a good friend, a card in the mail or even a great night out with those who matter most.

So, happy birthday to me, and to you, and don’t forget to like my post.

Advertisements

Do you want to break up with Facebook?

Please feel free to expand on your feelings about Facebook in the comment section below:

SMADHD

Posted by S.

You may be thinking, what is SMADHD? Break it down for me. Smad-hud?

Nope.

She’s Mad At Dad in Hi Def?

Wrong.

OK, OK, it stands for: Social Media Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and I believe that’s my affliction.

Too much Twitter. Too much Facebook. Too much networking, trying to communicate in the ether with social media mavens with followings five times as large as mine. Trying to get noticed. Trying to spread the word. It’s too much! When will it end??

But I can’t stop. I think I’m addicted. I like looking at the bit.ly stats of the links I send out. I like checking my Klout report to gauge my influence on Twitter. I love meeting new tweeps! I love getting new Facebook fans! It’s like an alternative reality that I have a little bit of power to control.

The funny thing is, I am not alone. There are many out there who suffer from SMADHD, but they have no way to diagnose their symptoms. So, I invented this acronym to describe the problem.

The only real treatment is to log off. Break loose. Take a breather. Maybe go to a desert island with no Internet and no cell phone reception. We as a society are already walking around plugged in to our hand-held devices for a majority of our waking hours. Our screen time is longer than our face time. What will be the implications? The floor is open.

The new lexicon

I get into a conversation more often than I’d like about our changing language.

There was a local NPR talk show discussing the loss of languages in our world. Apparently  half of the 700 world languages are standing on the brink of extinction. But there’s no mention here on the sprouting languages that are replacing ancient tongues.

For instance, look at the title of this blog: BTW, WTF. It’s symbolic of our changing language. negev-hebrewTeachers, parents, elders complain about the youth not being able to form a complete sentence. But in the modern world of texting, Facebooking and Tweeting, where brevity is king, language is being condensed, abbreviated, implied and omitted.

If you look at Hebrew, you will notice its absence of vowels. Sure, there are vowel dots on some texts, but true Hebrew is written in a condensed form where the vowels are implied. In Braille, also, the code for contracted Braille omits letters and vowels. A single symbol can stand for an entire word. This may be a moot point, in that we are still using these language families to construct true sentences, with a subject, a verb and a predicate. But perhaps we are failing to understand the hidden nuances in the modern language that is rapidly being developed before our eyes, actually on our LCD and touch screens.

What does “LOL” or “BTW” or “snd me txt” leave out? The message is clearly there. We are still communicating and gleaning meaning from these language codes. Of course, Shaw and Shakespeare would wonder what we were saying, but as long as we know what’s going on we can save our fellow human from being eaten by a mastadon.

Update on the prayer posting

Today’s searches to find my “other” blog provide an interesting anecdote to the life of bloggers (I think). What do you think?

praying hands 30
praying 14
praying hands picture 3
christianity praying hands 2
hands pray 2
hands in a pray 2
pictures of praying hands 1
photo of praying hands 1
picture of praying hands 1
pray image 1
shebshi wordpress 1
praying hands pictures 1
pray hands 1

Jesus gets the win

Apparently all I needed to do was be a little heretical and mention Jesus. I have another blog, which is anonymous for some reason. It doesn’t really make sense that it is anonymous, but it is. Anyhoo, about a month ago I posted about a triathlon my husband did, which began with a prayer circle.

That lent me to rant about how I have been confronted by fervent Christianity and widespread religiosity in such a constant stream since I moved here to the Midwest, it has really been a cultural shock. My site traffic has exploded, just for this post. I don’t know what is going on, but I believe I may have been tagged a heretic.

Not that I mind. Well, I am a little curious. I hope not to have a letter bomb exploding in my face sometime soon if they ever find out my identity. They very well could. It’s not so hidden. I will think positive thoughts that whoever is flocking to my blog to only read that post and not leave any comments agrees with my assertions and isn’t a flaming lunatic with an itchy trigger finger.

Ah, the joys of cyberspace. Sometimes it just seems like it would be in everyone’s best interest to have a best friend who is also a tech geek.