Well, it finally came. My 30th birthday was Monday (meaning when people now ask me my age, my go-to response henceforth will be “vintage”…and for them to “stop being so damn nosy”).
It ended up being a really good birthday. Well, except for the morning, which was spent trying to clean up a VERY BAD dog who thought a wonderful gift to his owner would be rolling around in some other dog’s fresh poo (consequently, he is now on canine probation).
But the afternoon was spent with my friend Patrick, where we had a shamelessly nerdy time drinking at coffeehouses, perusing used book stores and discussing “Battlestar Galactica” over beer (or to sum up for fans of “The Office”: Books. Beers. Battlestar Galactica.). And the evening was spent drinking wine with my husband and watching a penis-shrinking chick flick.
And then, as night rolled around, I spent the next three hours on my laptop, frantically trying to respond to the 900 million or so posts I received on Facebook.
See, it used to be that on your birthday, you’d get a couple of cards in the mail, a phone call from your mom and maybe a good friend, and, if you were lucky, perhaps a free shot or two at the bar from some random, who deduced it was your birthday after you climbed on the bar and yelled “It’s my birthday, bitches!!!”
But now, everyone knows it’s your birthday. Facebook announces right there on your profile whose birthday it is that day, basically passive-aggressively telling you “don’t be a schmuck…wish this kid a happy birthday, huh?”
On one hand, this is great. Nothing makes you feel quite as special on your special day as having 1,034 of your closest virtual friends wishing you a happy birthday. This is especially true when you’re spending your birthday in a new city where you’ve only made a handful of real-life friends so far, like me.
But my problem is that I don’t know what is proper Facebook birthday etiquette. Do I have to respond to each post individually? Or can I just make a blanket “thanks, everyone” post? And if so, how many exclamation points after “everyone” do I use?
But if I do that and someone wrote something really funny, like, “in honor of your birthday, I’m going to bong a Natty Light”, is it ok to “Like” that post, or do I have to like all the posts then?
And what about the posts that go beyond the standard “happy birthday” message and include a follow up message? Or even a question, like “Happy birthday! Crows feet really suck, huh?” Is it rude not to write back?
Is a free e-card on the same level as an electronic gift card to Starbucks? And where do someecards fit in? What about the guy who made a hilarious JibJab video featuring me? Do I need to reciprocate? Not to mention, for everyone who wrote on my page, am I expected to write on their page for their birthday? What if I don’t know them? Or did know them at one point but totally forget who they are now? What about the ones that sent me an actual message, instead of a wall post? Does that deserve a response?
I JUST DON’T KNOW. AHHHHH!!!
Where’s Emily Facebook Post when you need her?