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.

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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.

World-Wide-Web-Birthday

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.

FreeVector-Facebook-Meet-People

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? 😉

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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


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? …


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? …


Unplugging With The Poet-est Of Them

August 15, 2011

Author/poet Craig Moreau just posted a nice piece, entitled, “Falling Out Of Love With Facebook,” all about how Facebook has changed the way we relate to and love one another. He’s even gone so far as to unplug: Indeed, no Facebook, cellphones, or even checking emails with any regularity for Moreau these days.

Blabbb honors you, Good Sir, Craig Moreau, for un-blabbbing (ie, unplugging) and championing a much needed (real) voice.

Could you unplug to the lengths that Moreau has? Could you consciously leave your cellphone at home when you go out? Could you refrain from checking Facebook and your regular emails? Let us know what “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers 😉 …


DVR, Reality and Blabbb Puffs

August 3, 2011
Blabbber Ryno sent us the following link for some overdue Editorial Blabbb. Thanks, Ryno! 😉

Chuck Klosterman (yes, the dude who wrote Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs) writes a compelling piece about how, when it comes to his sports TV viewing, the live version always trumps the recorded one. In his essay, Space, Time and DVR Mechanics, Klosterman specifically describes how sporting events on delay or DVR cannot compare to the live, real-time experiences.

To expand upon Klosterman’s theory: If delayed/DVR events cannot compare to live experiences, is there a parallel to be made about how we interact with each other on the Internet as opposed to in real life? In an ideal world, we interact much more “live” with those closest to us (be that, in person, talking on the phone or even video-chatting online). That said, is “reality” reliant upon our real-time sensations and interactions? We’ve noticed that there’s a modern trend to not reply to Facebook messages and real emails nearly as quickly as we do to FB wall posts, tweets and text messages. Why is this? Do we find more meaning in one particular form of communication? As Klosterman questions, what is true reality?


Is “reality” predicated on how fast (ie, “live”) we perceive something? Is it about the experience itself? Or is the totality that we just cannot really enjoy witnessing something “new” transpire in this day and age unless we watch it unfold live? And, if we are now, in a way, addicted to live, unfolding “reality,” as Klosterman theorizes he is (at the end of his essay), then does that explain the success of Facebook, via which we watch each other’s lives unfold in news-ticker fashion, as if we’re watching a reality TV show (or the final three seconds of a tied basketball game)? 

No matter if DVR’ed football games are your cup of tea (or Gatorade) or not, how does our Blabbb world challenge you and your sense of reality and live experiences? What do “you” (not “u”) think, Blabbbers? 😉


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