Yesterday was my birthday and I would just like to thank Facebook for reminding all of my friends who IM’d, wrote on my wall, emailed, sent someecards, snail mailed, sent hallmark ecards, tweeted, and sms’d me a happy birthday note.
This is of course a little tongue in cheek – but the reality is that web services enable people a frictionless way to wish someone a happy birthday now more than ever. Multiple web services that I have signed up for in the past year (and it has been a lot) made sure to send me a birthday wish too, hoping that I log back into their service to checkout the latest and greatest of their offerings.
It is true that in a digital world, with a social group that is logging into a system daily, birthday updates are now a way of life. The Facebook birthday reminder was a catalyst for many to send off a birthday note – which is a good thing do not get me wrong – but certainly was not available a few years ago.
A quick poll to some of my friends let me know that most of them get birthday data from Facebook and the majority also will not take action unless they see the notification on the social network. This makes the case for the utility of entering such data, and certainly makes it worthwhile to have a compiled profile online. I am also guilty of using facebook as a social birthday reminder, and even go so far as to let people know that I know in advance. I think that social networks are where social graph data will emerge from and action items will result from completed profiles.