The Problem With Facebook Birthday Greetings

More

It happens every year whether you want it to or not: your Facebook wall is assaulted by people you haven't heard from in six years with birthday greetings. The one-line exclamations tend to be the generic type of happy birthday wishes that used to hide behind the five dollar bills in greeting cards from distant family members. In a neatly packaged metaphor, Facebook birthday greetings represent the problem that the social network has become. Always billed as a place to connect with your real friends, Facebook is now crowded with shallow or even fake relationships. And with new combatants like Google+ engaging in the battle over the social internet, Facebook's increasingly crappy signal-to-noise ratio is chasing people away.

In the latest in her Sunday New York Times column, Virginia Heffernan defends Facebook birthday greetings. Heffernan think this is why Facebook birthday greetings are benign. "The Facebook greeting still carries something like eye contact, recognition and a smile--humanness," she writes. "So far, bots and spammers don't seem to be among the well-wishers on a Facebook birthday. Real humans send the greetings. And they're customized."

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Jump to comments
Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In