Facebook’s value proposition becomes more tenuous every day. I know for myself and many others, the only benefit Facebook has to offer is it connects us to everybody from our past, who otherwise would likely be lost to us.
The “It’s (so-and-so’s) birthday” feature on Facebook is simultaneously one of the best and worst examples of how social networks can impact our digital lives. Best, in that it lets us know when something important and personal is happening to people we are connected to, and makes it easy for us to connect with them in that context. Worst, in that it elicits inauthentic responses and reduces the process of responding to such an event to a relatively hollow “Happy birthday!!!!!!” on their wall that shows up among a sea of similar announcements.