Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I like digital birthdays

I think I like digital birthdays.

Yesterday, more than 100 Facebook friends posted Happy Birthday to me.  I’m not bragging, just sayin’.

I got “Happy Birthdays” from friends from Fairfield, Auburn, Selma, Camden, Birmingham, all my hometowns, and from far-flung FB friends, like former coworkers who live in Washington state, Texas, Georgia and both Carolinas. It was great. My little i-phone bussed all day, with another friend posting on my wall. I’d smile.

Then, when I opened Google to look something up, Google was spelled out with birthday cakes, and when my curser hovered over the chocolate-caked Google, it said “Happy Birthday, Jackie.”  Clever people those Googles, who know it’s my birthday because I use g-mail and Google Chrome (it is faster than Explorer). So of course Google knows. It always knows.

I was even able to post a birthday video present to myself and my friends,  a video of Dylan and the Band in The Last Waltz doing Forever Young and Baby Let me Follow You Down. I couldn’t have done that without Facebook, or seen the comments from my music-loving friends.

For all the complaining I’ve done about how a “new digital focus” is ruining the daily newspapers in my home state, I admit to liking the whole digital birthday thing.  I am a moderate Facebook user, and don’t get me started on Words with Friends, the one on-line game I play.

I liked my digital happy birthdays and being able to reach out to friends no matter where they are. I like Facebook, sure, and I’ll post about this blog as soon as I’m through, but we all know Facebook horror stories, and about how it’s been used to hurt people, on purpose or not.

Yes, there’s much to like about our digital, social media, on-line world, and there is much to be wary of.  And, I still want my daily newspaper as a newspaper – no matter how pleased I am at having this great international connection that’s the internet and the social sites that thrive in it.

And for all the convenience and the “wow that’s neat” that go with today’s digital focus, there is also the knowledge that there is a lot of knowledge out there about you and yours.  Just be aware, even as you value and enjoy the social media worlds you choose to be a part of - that a big brother of our own making is watching, and knows where you’ve been (digitally) and knows who your friends are. Kinda freaky if you think about it.

Yes, I liked my digital birthday (and my real one, too). I want thank those who stopped a minute and said, Happy Birthday! via Facebook. This is a great use for the interactive internet-based social media world that continues to change and make itself a part of so many people’s lives.

So, I vote yes for digital birthdays. But, I still want my daily newspaper in a newspaper, and probably won’t shut up about it. But that’s for another blog post.