Nothing brings home the impact of social media more than birthdays. There was a time when I got birthday greetings from family and maybe one or two friends the old-fashioned way: a card in the mail. By the late 90’s, I started getting the occasional email, sometimes with a cute animated message.
Now, thanks to Twitter, Facebook, et al, I get electronic felicitations from far more folks, including people I haven’t heard from in years. I also hear from businesses, especially insurance companies. I guess they’re glad I’m still above ground. Today’s social media makes communication far more efficient, allowing connections to be made with ever more distantly connected people.
That communication is maybe more widespread, but it’s also at times even more impersonal. Should I appreciate birthday greetings from someone I haven’t heard from in 20 years? Or should I be grateful for the chance to reconnect? I was terrible at writing thank you notes when I was young. I haven’t gotten any better at following up on replying to messages on Facebook.
Fortunately, modern technology has an answer for lazy, ungrateful wretches such as myself. That “reply to all” button is a godsend.
Who knows what the future portends? As I fully enter my seventh decade, the future seems nearer than ever. Still, I can see a time soon when messages will flash directly on my eyeballs. Not sure how much fun that will be, especially during election campaign season.
Meanwhile, thanks to all for birthday greetings this week. Close friend, family, or someone more degrees of separation apart, it’s good to hear from you. I guess we’ll do it again next year.