Happy Birthday to All (The Blabbbers)!

February 17, 2013

Well, January is complete. So, the first question is: Are you still sticking to your New Year’s resolutions?  The second question: When’s your birthday?

Allow me to explain … Believe it or not, my New Year’s resolution is to wish you a happy birthday. Well, that is, if you are my friend … (and have your birthday listed) on Facebook.

Now, as you may know (if you have actually read this silly blog of mine before, particularly this post), I was a huge fan of Myspace when the social networking era began. I felt this way mostly because I do not enjoy our lives being ruled by and displayed in a timeline/newsfeed manner. In order to stay up to date on Myspace, you had to proactively participate in friendships and relationships, while Facebook, and its newsfeed, which has been duplicated by practically every site, has turned our lives into ticker feeds.


Now, that quick background information aside, let’s get back to the matter at hand. When I made the switch from Myspace to Facebook in 2008, I was shocked about how birthdays were announced on Facebook.  Based on my experiences, when we develop relationships with people that we care about, we often ask them when their birthdays are. When we know of a friend’s birthday, we make mental notes and add their birthdays to our (now digital) calendars.

Remember when we were in grade school and the daily birthday was always listed on the chalkboard? When I joined Facebook, that’s how Facebook birthdays seemed to me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to receive birthday wishes, and, of course, it’s polite and friendly to say happy birthday to someone when you know it’s his or her birthday. However, when I joined Facebook, I couldn’t help but feel like we, as adults, were wishing each other happy birthday because Professor Facebook had scribbled our birthdays on the blackboard of the Facebook classroom. Seeing as we’d wished each other happy birthday for years (decades, millenniums) before, Professor Facebook’s birthday “chalkboard” made me unsettled, to say the least.


It truly is fascinating to see how even unlisted birthdays can go “viral” on Facebook. For example, let’s say a Blabbber actually knows a friend’s birthday, but that friend doesn’t list his or her birthday on Facebook. If said Blabbber posts a happy birthday message on that friend’s Facebook wall, guess what then happens. Other Blabbbers who are friends with both people see it on their news feeds and chime in. Why do we feel the need to do this?

A friend of mine once purposefully posted the wrong birthday on his Facebook wall to see what would happen. Sure enough, hundreds of friends started posting birthday wishes on his wall. He thought it was a hoot. Many of his friends, when they found out the truth, did not appreciate the humor in his prank. However, this really begs us to ask the question: Why do we wish people happy birthday just because Facebook tells us to?

All that being said (and maybe still questioned), as I’ve said before in this blog, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, especially the Blabbbers. After all, that’s what this blog is all about. Questioning what we do on the Internet while being an active participant in all social antics on the Interwebs.


I’ve come to realize that my old-fashioned stubbornness is leaving me somewhat alone online. I still believe that true friends know their friends’ birthdays without needing Facebook reminders. However, I recognize now that all those well wishes on Facebook are just that … well wishes. And what’s wrong with well wishes? Well, nothing at all. So, count me in.

I am proud to say that I plan to wish each of  my Facebook friends a happy birthday online this year. Likewise, I will  also finally list my birthday on Facebook, which I refrained from doing in the past. I look forward to sending and receiving positive energy by interacting with others online throughout the year.

In the end, my Blabbb education has reminded me that no two people do things exactly alike. People use Facebook and social media for all sorts of various reasons. Extending birthday wishing to friends is a good thing, not something worthy of any judgment … that is, unless the birthday date was fake and part of a prank.

In conclusion, I leave you with two questions.: What’s your New Year’s resolution? … And when’s your birthday?

What do you (not “u”) think about online birthdays, Blabbbers? 😉

Handwritten Thank You Notes: There’s an App for That?!

January 6, 2013

You’ve survived another holiday season, but have you written all your thank you notes yet?

Do you find handwriting thank you notes to be tedious? Do you feel like you are too busy to write a thank you note for every gift you received or every party you attended?

If you value ease more than etiquette, then have no fear, Blabbbers, as now there are smartphone apps that will solve all your thank you note “problems.” After all, Blabbbers, we wouldn’t want you to write a card instead of playing video games or watching your TV shows on DVR instead. 😛

Robot w Pencil

That’s right, despite the fact that handwritten notes are special because they are personal, there are now multiple services that will aid you with your thank you notes. “Problem” solved?! Here’s a brief introduction to these Blabbb “life savers” …

  • Thank You Pen: The Thank You Pen app is about as Blabbb-y as can be. First, using their app on your smartphone, you choose your own card — with or without including an optional gift card. Second, you type out your message. Third, you choose from two (yes, only two) different handwriting options. Then the Thank You Pen scribes handwrite the card in their handwriting, add your gift card and mail out your “note” as instructed. It’s like having a personal assistant … who can’t duplicate your personal handwriting. Let’s hope the recipient of your “note” can’t recognize your handwriting!
  • Inkly: The Inkly app claims to be “personal.” First, using their app on your smartphone, you choose your own card from their many options. Second, you actually handwrite your own card message with your own handwriting — on scrap paper, toiletpaper, whatever. Third, you take a photo of your message and send it to the Inkly peeps. Then Inkly duplicates your handwriting with some “magical” Blabbb technology, prints your card and mails it as instructed. You basically go to the effort of writing yet slack on getting a card and going to the post office for a stamp.

Should we fear that this impersonal alternative will catch on? If the now-defunct Thank Thank Notes app is any indication, maybe people aren’t as lazy and impersonal as we dread they are.

Then again, there are now pre-formated thank you notes for children, where all they need to do is fill in the name of the gift giver, the gift and the child’s name. So even parents seem to be slacking now by not teaching their children how to write and mail thank you notes. When did laziness become acceptable? Well, as Miss Manners explains, form letters are not cute, not even from toddlers.

Robot Writer

Yes, we live in a busy world. And, yes, sending any thank you note in this day and age — even one with the aid of a smartphone app — is much better than doing nothing at all. Still, how can one argue that a smartphone app is a personal touch? Is this better than an email or text thank you, which is rather impersonal as well? What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? 😉

The Yearbook Effect

February 8, 2012

Do you know where your high school yearbook is? Do you remember who signed it? Do you remember what your classmates and “friends” wrote to you?

Maybe your yearbook is currently on your bookshelf; maybe it’s tucked away in a trunk; or maybe you or your parents threw it out or lost it a long time ago, without much care or concern.

There are a lot of parallels between our Blabbb world, especially Facebook, and our high school yearbooks.

Its seems like there are two kinds of people in this world: Yearbookers & non-Yearbookers. Yearbookers are super nostalgic, saving every memento; non-Yearbookers are not nearly as sentimental and clearly do not put any stock into nicknacks. Yearbookers, on the one hand, actually saved their yearbooks, remembering exactly what everyone said and wrote, having reviewed the yearbook over and over, when their yearbooks were new and fresh and prompting constant review; on the other hand, non-Yearbookers hardly had anyone sign their yearbooks, and they tossed theirs aside and never really looked back at them.

This contrast is now amplified in our lives with the overwhelming presence of Facebook. Obviously, Yearbookers are obsessed with FB, logging on all the time, staying up to date, maybe even “checking in,” posting photos and clicking “Like” a lot; while non-Yearbookers do not engage in much daily Facebook use. Interestingly, FB has grown so prevalent that even non-Yearbookers have FB accounts; they just don’t seem to use them that much or with great frequency.

Take this a step further, and we can see some clear cut parallels towards are personalities. Yearbookers are more likely to save things, be that ticket stubs, photos, mementos, nicknacks with personal meanings and postcards from friends and family; while non-Yearbookers find most of that stuff to be clutter. Heck, there’s probably a parallel we can make about Yearbookers and non-Yearbookers with organized and disorganized collections of digital music and photos.

Our differences are obvious. The interesting factor is that the Yearbookers seem to be so invested in the Facebook world. Yet FB lacks the permanency that Yearbookers appreciate so much. Why then do Yearbookers communicate today in a non-permanent manner? Sure, it’s nice to communicate at a rapidly fast pace and to share things across the globe with great ease. That said, what happens when a Yearbooker is sitting around at night and recalls a memory of what a special someone wrote on his/her FB wall back in February 2009? How many times can you (and Facebook, for that matter) click the “Older Posts” link at the bottom of your wall to get back to that era in your FB life. Sure, old links or postings are “there” somewhere, but they’re extremely difficult to find. Why are Yearbookers addicted to such impermanent communication? When we started developing this Yearbook Effect theory, we originally were ready to jest that sentimental Yearbookers should start printing out screenshots of their favorite posts from significant special people in their lives so they could physically retain the memory/moment. Not anymore …

Now, with the introduction of Facebook’s Timeline, we can easily get very nostalgic. We can easily jump back to look over times in our lives from years ago. In a way, FB has become a virtual shoebox, and, as we said, Yearbookers love shoeboxes filled with mementos from times past. That said, we don’t usually leave our personal shoeboxes out on our coffee tables for others to look through. Yet, the Timeline does just that. It allows new friends to check out our old lives. Sure, you can go back and review every single post from the last four-plus years and edit each one for custom privacy issues, but who is really going to want to go back and do all that?

Since its invention, unless you really wanted to waste serious time, the past postings on your Facebook Walls were quite simply that: in the past, distant memories, long gone and, for all intensive purposes, unretainable. We initially thought this was a sad flaw about Facebook, that communications, from birthday wishes to inside jokes, became abstract, virtual dust, never to reappear. At least, though, we got used to it. Now, with one might flick of a mighty Facebook “switch,” Mark Zuckerberg and his FB team are opening up our entire pasts to those who, quite frankly, we might not want to grant such access.

So, whether you’re a Yearbooker or a non-Yearbooker, assuming you’re on Facebook, get ready to have your “virtual Yearbook” placed on your virtual coffee table, whether you “like” it or not. Facebook’s Timeline is coming your way, and, yes, you might have some editing to do (or some conversations that you might want to sit down for) …

Blabbbers, what do “you” (not “u”) think about Facebook’s Timeline and the Yearbook Effect?  😉

An Open Letter to Blabbbers

September 21, 2011
As the complaints pour in about the latest changes to Facebook and many are making a change to Google+, we thought we’d write a little recommendation letter to all the Blabbbers out there …
TO: Those Blabbbers listed below  …
FROM: Blabbb
RE: An Open Letter to Blabbbers
DATE: September 21, 2011
CC: Blabbb’s Secretary; Blabbb’s Chef; Blabbb’s Limo Driver
Dear Blabbbers …
  • who change their profile photos everyday;
  • who write “I” and “me” too much;
  • who blabbb about politics;
  • who blabbb about religion;
  • who blabbb about what they’re eating;
  • who blabbb about what they just ate;
  • who blabbb about how what they ate affected them in the bathroom;
  • who “check in;”
  • who “check” others “in;”
  • who wish their bartender’s brother’s college roommate’s ex-girlfriend’s mother a “Happy 50th Birthday” as their FB status;
  • who blabbb that they are saddened by the death of their pizza delivery guy’s brother’s karate teacher’s stepfather;
  • who are friends with their dentists and gynecologists on FB;  😉
  • who curse on FB and Twitter;
  • who blabbb about the “cutest thing” their best friend’s baby just said to the sales clerk at the sporting goods store;
  • who blabbb (ie, boast) about home ownership;
  • who blabbb (ie, complain) about home ownership;
  • who blabbb about not being in debt;
  • who blabbb about being in debt;
  • who use the word “woot;”
  • who type “LOL” or “LMFAO;”
  • who blabbb (ie, boast) about their promotion;
  • who blabbb (ie, complain) about being laid off;
  • who blabbb (ie, complain) about their frustrating job search;
  • who blabbb (ie, boast) about finding their new job … and then blabbb (ie, complain) right away about their new job;
  • who wasted the time to write “25 Things About Myself” on FB;
  • who list their family members online;
  • who post requests on their “friends'” walls to send them a private message or call them;
  • who blabbb their emails addresses or cellphone numbers on their “friends'” walls [Random aside: We promote prank calling all such blabbbers late at night.];
  • who blabbb about their wife’s teacher’s postman’s nephew getting the cutest kittens;
  • who blabbb about their brother’s running coach’s car salesman’s dog dying;
  • who are FB friends with the crazy girl who sells pistachios at the ballpark;
  • who blabbb about losing their keys;
  • who blabbb about finding their keys;
  • who update their FB statuses with congratulations to their librarian’s mother’s real estate agent’s yoga instructor on her second marriage to her baby’s daddy;
  • who blabbb how sorry they are that their masseuse’s favorite food blogger’s meter maid is going through a divorce right now;
  • who blabbb about wanting to go on vacation;
  • who blabbb about going on vacation;
  • who blabbb about being jealous of someone else’s vacation;
  • who blabbb about wishing they were still on vacation;
  • who thank everyone on FB for the amazing birthday wishes and are “so blessed” to have “the best” friends and family;
  • who blabbb that they cannot sleep;
  • who blabbb that they took the best nap “EVER;”
  • who write “EVER;”
  • who blabbb that they slept in for the first time in “SO LONG;”
  • who write “SO LONG;”
  • who blabbb about how in love they are with their lover;
  • who blabbb about how annoyed they are by their lover;
  • who “wink” at their book club friend’s favorite bar’s trivia host online …

Dear any and all of those Blabbbers listed above: Take a deep breath, put your hands up, and slowly step away from your keyboards. The Reality Police are on their way. 😉
Sincerely “yours” (not “urs”),
~~ Blabbb

Blabbb: Origins

September 8, 2011

In addition to Wink and fb4h, want to know the motivation for this Blabbb blog?

Here are two pre-Blabbb pieces by Blabbber Lee Porter that sparked the idea for a blog which communicates on the Internet about communicating on the Internet:

Click here for an essay from the website WTF Is Up With My Love Life?!, entitled Techno-Romance: WTF? … FTW!

Click here for a blog piece about meeting people in person first before linking up on the Internet, entitled The (Real) Social Network.

So now you know what “sparked the Blabbb” (blog). What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? 😉

Crossing The Blabbb Lines

August 31, 2011

Tell one racy joke to one friend, and then try telling that same joke to a very different friend. Chances are they will react differently. One might laugh; one might get uncomfortable.

Linda Holmes wrote a captivating piece about a recent Blabbber who foolishly went onstage for an open mic comedy event and ended up telling a horrific sex story that could possibly result in his going to jail. (Read Holmes’ full NPR essay here).

While the story in Holmes’ piece is an extreme example of “How Not To Blabbb,” it should act as a reminder to us all. We encourage all Blabbbers to think about what we post on the Internet before pressing that Send/Publish button. Even a harmless joke can offend people. As Holmes stresses, Your Friends Are Not Your Audience.


Meanwhile, author Adam Frank wrote a recent piece for NPR which deals with his reluctence to join our techno world. It wasn’t until this past year that Frank finally joined Facebook (due to the pressure from his own children/Little Blabbbers) and Twitter (at the encouragement/insistance of his publisher). (Read Frank’s full essay here.)

Frank recalls how many people have always hesitated to join technology movements throughout history. After all, there is no predicting what will be a fad/failure (MySpace, for example) and what will become commonplace (Facebook). Frank is now following the popularity of video chatting, such as Skype, to see if it will go one way (success) or another (belly flop).

It really is interesting to see how quickly people jump on board a new trend. Do we wait for others or do we start off alone by ourselves? The new social networking site Google+ will be quite interesting to watch: Will it succeed? Why? Why not?

In the meantime, congrats to Adam Frank for joining the techno world. As we’ve said here on Blabbb many times before: Love this techno world or hate it; if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. 😉

What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? …

Fun Blabbb: 6.0

August 24, 2011

Fun Blabbb is an ongoing collection of Blabbb-related “stuffs” that we bumped into and wanted to share with our Blabbb community. If you ever see something Blabbb-related, please drop us a line and share it with us. We’ll even give you a shout-out and a “wink!” 😉 Enjoy this week’s Fun Blabbb! …

Blabbber Sheila sent this amusing video our way. Check out the satire (and Broadway showtune sounds) of Web Site Story! 😉 …

What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? …

Blabbb News: 3.0

August 23, 2011

Blabbb News is an ongoing collection of Blabbb-related news that we bumped into and wanted to share with our Blabbb community. If you ever see something Blabbb-related, please drop us a line and share it with us. We’ll even give you a shout-out and a “wink!” 😉 Enjoy this week’s Blabbb News!

You think you are dropping some modern blabbb lingo when you say “sexting?” Well, think again. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary recently added 400 words to its dictionary, including: retweet, woot, sexting and cyberbullying. Earlier this year, OMG, LOL and ❤ were added, as well. In response to these additions, we at Blabbb have released the following statement: WTF?! 😉
Maybe those young computer geniuses are not quite the computer wizards we thought they were. According to a recent study, college students are not very good at using Google for research. The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries Project (ERIAL), which is a collaboration between five Illinois universities, set out to understand students’ research habits. What did they find? To sum it all up, as one first-year student said, “I’m lazy, and I use the Internet.” According to the study, though, not very well, young Blabbbers. 😉
Next time your boss reprimands you for surfing the Interwebs, tell the big honcho that time spent on the Internet actually improves work performance. And, now, with the help of a recent study, you’ll actually have some data to support your theory. According to researchers, Web-surfers are significantly more productive and effective when actually engaged in work tasks, as opposed to those who do not surf the Web during work. We’re still waiting for a study that finds similar results for blog-writing during work. 😉
Have you forgotten to post something on Blabbb’s Facebook wall in a while? Well, you are not alone, as researchers recently reported that Facebook use could have possibly plateaued. According to their report, Facebook use (such as virtual gifting, FB messaging, joining an FB group and IM-ing on FB) is on the decline. Facebook does not seem concerned, and you know what? Neither is Blabbb. (BTW, have you “liked” us on FB yet?) 😉
So what’s the moral of this edition of Blabbb News? Maybe, we should all Google “sexting the dictionary” while at work and then refrain from blabbbing about it on Facebook? What do “you” (not “u”) think? …

Little Blabbbers

August 18, 2011

“I believe the lil’ blabbbers are our are future.
Teach them Facebook and let them lose the way.
Show them all the blabbb they possess inside.
Give them a false sense of blabbb to make life crazier.
Let the lil’ blabbbers’ Skype-ing remind us how we used to blabbb.
Everybody searching for a blabbber. 
Blabbbers need anyone online to chat with. 
I never found anyone to fulfill my blabbby side.
A lonely place to be,
so I learned to depend on blabbb …”

As we continue to figure out our own feelings about this modern techno world, as it evolves (and gets crazier) before our very eyes, the question that many of us are asking ourselves is what to do about our children. Should we allow our children on Facebook and online social networking or are they too young for the crazy Internet world? Blogger Andy Affleck recently addressed this very dilemma, as his child is approaching his teenage years. Read Affleck’s blog post here and NPR’s wonderful analysis of this parenting issue here.

“Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be blabbbers …” 😉

Blabbbers, do/would you allow your children to join Facebook at an early age? Do/would you have issues with your children chatting with other video gamers from around the globe? What do “you” (not “u”) think? …

Anonymous Hackers: Operation Blabbb

August 15, 2011
Last week, the hacker group known as “Anonymous” posted a video on YouTube, claiming that it would “kill” Facebook on November 5, 2011 and then confirmed its mission, known as Operation Facebook, with a Tweet, as well. The original video has since been removed, but it has been reposted by many:
While many laugh at the video; some are fearful and frightened. From the little we’ve read, it seems plausible that one day, Facebook could be hacked, just like any other website. Yet, based on most reports, this recent plot was simply a “dud.” So, have no fear Wyclef fans: Facebook will not be “gone by November.” 😉
We wonder: What would happen if we woke up one day and Facebook was gone? Such an online “killing” reminds us of the social messages from the endings of V For Vendetta and The Truman Show, where everyday people had to decide what to do with themselves once the whole Vendetta/Truman “party” was over.
If Facebook is “killed,” maybe we can take a deep breath and acknowledge the end of an era/addiction. Then we can open up a book or two and read more. We can step outside and go for a walk or a run. We can strike up a conversation with the person we’re seated next to, instead of using our smart phones and laptops as bumper zones, shielding us from human contact.
While we do not support vigilante behavior, especially hacking; this “threat” from Anonymous can, at the very least, provide us with a moment to self-reflect and think about what role Facebook plays in our lives and if we might want to consciously turn the Facebook “volume” down a notch or two.
What do “you” (not “u”) think, blabbbers? 😉 … 

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