Facebook has become an integral part of our lives. When it was launched, people were not much aware of the importance of online social networking. Now it has become a necessity for us. We use Facebook for various purposes. We do not use it to keep in touch with old friends but also to find new people and make friends with them.
Sometimes we join groups and make friends based on our common interests. We share stuff with each other, invite each other to events, tag each other in posts and also have online celebrations. There is so much to do on Facebook.
Birthdays on Facebook
Facebook’s idea of celebrating birthdays did not begin with its advent. It was not before 2011 that Facebook added the feature for users to write birthday wishes on the walls of their friends. These walls were then known as ‘profile pages’.
In 2013, the feature of birthday notifications came into existence. It was indeed a revolution since forgetting birthdays was something that happened to all of us.
Birthday notifications ensure everyone gets to know about your birthday. Someone may choose to wish you or may remain silent. Some Facebook users choose to hide their date of birth. If they set the privacy to ‘only me’, other users would not get notified about their birthday.
Birthdays wishes on Facebook
If a user chooses to show his date of birth to friends (makes it visible), his friends will get their birthday notifications. This means that they want to celebrate their birthday on Facebook and it becomes obvious we wish them. It is a warm gesture to wish someone on his birthday.
Let us understand that a person uses Facebook to network with people both known and unknown. He wants to be in a social relationship, so he shares his life events, opinions and everyday happenings with others. Birthdays are also an important event that happens every year. If someone wants to inform the social world about his life through a platform like Facebook, birthdays are too important to be left unnoticed.
Hence writing birthday messages and wishes becomes unavoidable. Wishing others on their birthdays is a necessary courtesy. We wish birthdays to people in the real world either by spoken words or by a written message one birthday card. Similarly, we should wish people on their birthdays on Facebook also, especially if we cannot meet them or do not meet them daily. It makes them feel happy and loved. Such gestures are appreciated they help create lifelong friendships.
Birthday notifications are of a great help. Thankfully we do not need to set reminders now as Facebook notifies us of birthdays through e-mail and mobile notifications.
There are many ways to wish people on their birthdays on Facebook.
1. Writing on their walls.
2. Posting a picture on their walls.
3. Sending a private message.
Remember that posting on walls may not be available for all users as they might have turned off the feature that allows friends to write on others’ walls.
Reacting to birthday wishes
More important than writing a birthday wish is the gesture of appreciating it. When you say thank you, it makes the wish by your friend meaningful. Let us see how we can react to birthday wishes.
1. Wishes and photographs on walls: Posting on walls is a highly popular way of wishing birthdays. Such posts are public and can be seen by all friends. You can like them, choose to give them a love react and also go on to write a nice comment on them. You may also use a sticker or GIF for that. Remember it is not just a courtesy but also a kind of acknowledgement that you have read the wish.
2. Birthday wishes through messages: Many people who do not wish to make a birthday wish publicly may choose to wish you through a direct message. This is also a very popular way of sending birthday wishes. This way is particularly helpful in case of people who are not very good at composing eloquent wishes for walls. Sending a short message is also practical when you are wishing a birthday to people who are not very good friends or not very well known to you. Also, in case of friends that are very close, you may not be able to write everything on the wall. In all these cases sending a birthday message is appropriate.
Facebook now offers liking and reacting to messages as well. You may of course do that but sending a reply to the message is unavoidable. You should say ‘thank-you’ and write something that gives a personal touch to your acknowledgment. Since the message is not public, you can write in short about how the person is important for you. You should definitely be grateful to him for remembering you.
3. Birthday Stories: This is a new feature introduced by Facebook. Stories appear on the top. When somebody writes a birthday story for you and tags you in it, you can reply to it through a message. A story can be seen by all friends, but when you reply to it as a message it can only be read by the author of the story.
Why is it important to say thank-you
Saying thank-you is a very warm way of accepting someone’s wishes. You should realize that someone has taken out time to wish you. The wish itself is not as important as the gesture of wishing.
Appreciation is always a nice thing. While showing your appreciation you also get a chance to show you have received the birthday wish and are acknowledging that.
We also see that many Facebook users do not reply to birthday wishes. They do not find time to even hit the like button. This is unwelcome as it leads to loss of communication. This is how active relationships on Facebook die out slowly.
We need to remember that we chose to be on Facebook ourselves. It wasn’t forced upon us. If we do not send replies to birthday wishes, we are indeed not playing our role as a Facebook friend. That is likely to dampen the spirit of warmth in our friendship.
Also, it is very rude and unethical to ignore birthday wishes be it on Facebook or elsewhere. Remember when a courtesy is extended to you, it is your prime responsibility to respond to it. Only then can you expect a similar courtesy in the future. Put simply, we need to be nice to receive nicety from others.
Why can responding to birthday wishes be challenging?
Responding to birthday wishes and messages can be challenging in many ways. Active users on Facebook usually have many friends. Sometimes they may receive over hundreds of wishes if they have more than a thousand friends. To make matters worse, all these wishes are not at one place. Some may be in the form of wall posts while some may be in the form of messages or stories. Replying to all wishes therefore may become very challenging.
In case of public accounts of popular people, birthday wishes may be received in figures of thousands. It may seem impossible for someone to reply then.
What can you do?
If you receive a lot of birthday wishes, you should definitely think of sending a reply to them all. All of them deserve a different reply as your equations with different people are different.
If it becomes difficult to do so, you can make a wall post recognizing all those wishes that you have received with an apology for not being able to reply to individual wishes. Even in this case you should think of sending personal replies to some specific Facebook friends like your old relatives or teachers whose contribution to your life is more than others.
New features with Facebook birthdays
Facebook has ever been improving its birthday features. There are special birthday videos made automatically and posted by Facebook. These videos show some of the best wishes posted on your wall along with some select photos posted by friends. These videos appear to be highly customized and relevant. If you do not have time to see all wishes, this video can give you an excellent glimpse of all those birthday posts on the wall.
Facebook is not just a social networking platform anymore. It has become the major mode of social networking. People network more on Facebook these days than through real life social networking. In the times of a pandemic like COVID-19 when we can’t go out to network with people.
Wishing birthdays is now a decade old practice on Facebook and as careful Facebook users we should never forget to acknowledge and respond to birthday wishes made for us. If others remember us, we should also remember them. Such courtesy matters a lot in both the worlds: real and virtual.