Why is saying happy birthday on Facebook a thing?

I am petty – i know this, my friends know this. Not about everything, but when it comes to Facebook birthdays i am pretty much a seventh grader in a womans body. Before you wonder, yes i was also myspace top friend petty, I have grown out of that level but when i get the notifications of who’s birthday it is on social media i admit, i check if they wrote to me before i decide if i am saying it to them.

Fortunately, my birthday is in April so i have a pretty good indiction for the rest of the year who I am going to return wishes to if they didn’t start the year off wishing me happy returns. It had me thinking recently; am i alone in doing this or is everyone else just as petty as me?

TIME magazine published an article of Facebook etiquette in 2015 outlaying the manners in wishing happy birthday and stated there are six rules, this is number five:

Post on a Facebook wall/send a tweet: Old friends with whom you keep in touch on Facebook only. Acquaintances you like, but with whom you have limited interaction. Twitter friends. I’m not against the Facebook wall post or a tweet, but it’s not for every person in your life. If your friendship “lives” on social media, it’s fine to keep it there. But understand that it’s not for everyone.

Forums like Reddit and Quora ask the same question and many users responded negatively saying they found Facebook to not matter, with several users saying they ceased birthday wishes online years ago.

According to the Australian Bureau of statistics, there are 15 million active users of Facebook in Australia. Thats 60% of the population, with the added bonus of Facebook informing your friends when your birthday is with a notification there isn’t really any excuse for someone to not write ‘Happy Birthday’

I asked three different people for their opinions:

Andrew, 36, “I do it if i can be bothered, it’s more annoying than anything. If i get a notification and can be bothered, i will say happy birthday. Depends how much i like them. I don’t really care too much.”

Talia, 29, “If its someones birthday, i always check if they have said it to me. If they haven’t, i delete them. Obviously we aren’t friends.”

Elizabeth, 33, “I don’t give two shits about it to be honest, I don’t check and i am really bad at posting on their walls and would rather privately message them.”

Consensus is pretty split and gone are the days where majority use the excuse of social media not being ‘real life’ because let’s face it; social media has become our life. Does it make it okay for us to get annoyed when we don’t receive birthday wishes if we aren’t dishing them out? Personally, I’ve made the decision to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to everyone for a year and see how i feel next year.

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