Yesterday was my birthday, and, like most of us who are active on Facebook, I received a flood of wall posts wishing me a happy day. Only a few years ago, my birthday went unnoticed by all except my closest friends and family.
Not so this year. A total of 115 people sent me birthday wishes. For those who think technology divides us, isolates us and adversely affects relationships in real life (IRL), here’s an interesting look at the folks who posted birthday greetings on my wall.
- 17 were under 21 years old. A few are relatives, the rest are my daughter, Sara Ann’s, friends, most of whom I drove various places or fed at some time during their high school years — young people who are now away at college and never would have otherwise thought about me or my birthday.
- 35 were people I haven’t seen in 10 years — 20 in some cases. High school and college friends I’d lost touch with before we reconnected on Facebook.
- 16 were friends I met first online, then met IRL. If it’s true that technology isolates us, how do I explain these connections that I’d never have forged were it not for Twitter and other social networking sites?
- Two are women my mother’s age. One of whom I’ve known all my life, but probably wouldn’t have heard from on my birthday. I love seeing people of my parents’ generation embrace technology.
Sidenote: No, my mother did not wish me a happy birthday on Facebook, but I’m letting it slide in view of a great Thanksgiving/birthday weekend at her house, her homemade chicken & dumplings (my favorite) and a generous monetary gift that will add nicely to the Beth G. Sanders MacBook Pro Fund.
- 18 were people I see or talk to infrequently. Friends who have moved out of town, some I worked with or knew for a season.
- 23 were people I see and interact with IRL on a regular basis, but still probably would not have otherwise heard from on my birthday.
- One was in Spanish. Sadly, I don’t speak Spanish, so beyond feliz cumpleano I was lost but I still thought it was way cool.
- And I saved the best for last: Seven people I’ve never met IRL wished me a happy birthday. How cool is that? Only on the Interwebs …
My husband, Jim, and I made friends online before Facebook was a gleam in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. Have you made connections online that became IRL friendships?