Privilege Blog

How The Internet Is For Birthdays Most Of All

In the early days of the Internet, just after we ooh-ed and ah-ed over network access to anatomical diagrams, and right before our children posted their every breath to friends, we joked that all was fueled and funded by p*rn*graphy. We may have been right.

These days, however, I think birthdays are the new engine. Not just the dollars spent on cake and cookie decorations inspired by Marilyn, here, or Marcela, here. Not just the purchases at stores Californian’s wouldn’t have known pre-Internet, like Catbird.

The web seems so perfectly constructed for birthday wishes themselves.

Sometimes it’s too hard to comment on blogs, or respond to tweets. I Pick Pretty wrote a heartfelt post recently about commenting, and participating, and recognition, and support, here. I understand her frustration. We are all busy, the number of spots to type our good wishes is almost limitless, supporting and participating everywhere, not possible.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s too easy to comment, given the circumstances. To give facile reinforcement, or comfort. I sometimes consider how it’s harder it is in real life, than on the Internet, to take care of people. You have to stand up, lift heavy boxes, deny yourself to give to others. That’s more work than tippity-tapping on a keyboard.

But on the occasion of a birthday, commenting, or tweeting, or liking, or repinning, or whatever, a Happy Birthday, takes the exactly right amount of time. We can all even add an exclamation mark. And mean it. Feels pretty good on the receiving end too.

I read every single Happy Birthday yesterday, here, in email cards, and on Twitter. And every single ascii character, every snippet of HTML, or javascript, or whatever, made me happy. I felt as though we had all just passed each other on Main Street, bags in hand, children impatient in strollers, families waiting at home, and you had said to me, “Oh, and Happy Birthday!” Then some leaves fell down, or the first rain drops spattered, or the waiting baby began to whimper.

Perfect.  And thank you very, very much.

26 Responses

  1. Happy BELATED Birthday! I was so thinking of you, wished I hadn’t missed the party…sounds like it was EVERYTHING and more!!!

  2. Well I guess it’s belated Happy Birthday wishes from me. But I so agree – never enough time to visit all the new found friends as well as old in addition to attending those in real life. And I will definitely be checking out I Feel Pretty’s post since those are all topics of concern to me!! Wishing you a wonderful birthday weekend!!

  3. Oh, I missed it, but believe it or not, I have a present for you and hope to get it in the mail sometime this next week!

  4. Lisa, I hope you’re having a lovely birthday weekend with friends and family. It is nice, isn’t it, receiving birthday greetings from online friends? But I know what you mean about making time in real life as well, it’s so much more of a commitment. Thank you for the link to I Pick Pretty, I read it and agree with her tweet in particular. I’m planning to make some changes in this respect as time is too precious to keep interacting with people who never respond.

  5. Very nice thoughts Lisa. I look at my ” A Simple Thank You will Suffice” sticker and think of you often.

    When I talk with dear blog friends I know how much the support, encouragement, and comments mean. It takes a lot to be there for others, and I try my best to let friends know how much I appreciate their posts. I also hope I am forgiven when I do not get to everyone!


    Art by Karena

  6. I would like to add my “Happy Birthday”. I believe in celebrating birthdays for at least a week. Mine was Sept. 25th and I’m still celebrating :-)
    I love what my Doctor said to me yesterday – just a simple heart felt – “Congratulations”.
    So… congratulations and Happy Birthday to you !!!

  7. Belated but heartfelt from me, too. We are all learning our way through this new way of forming relationships; I deeply enjoy your technologically enabled presence.

  8. You are one gracious lady, missy. I hope you had a very happy birthday indeed! My wish for you is for a wonderful year ahead where you feel like you are just hitting your stride with your whole future ahead of you, which is true, isn’t it? Perhaps I picked up on all the happiness and love that has surrounded you where I felt I must be part of the party that I didn’t even know was going on! (I never like to be left out. :)) I think this means something. ;) Much love. Marilyn

  9. And I’ll add my happy birthday to the pile as well. I’ve just discovered your blog and tremendously enjoy your writing.

  10. I like birthdays too. I never feel old on my birthday. Honest to God and maybe it’s an only child thing but I always feel like a kid, the world should stop turning, and everyone should look at ME on my day.
    But I am here to celebrate YOU my dear! I hope it was a wonderful day with lot’s of “likes” and :) and !!! and socially connected tweets that these days can go along with the best kind of celebration that only a real family, friend, or dog can give!

  11. Some interesting links here, thanks. I’ve been thinking about the challenge of commenting (mainly because I’ve been so bad at it lately). Wish there were an equally effective comment for non-birthdays . . .

  12. Always wise! This post is so very true. And with the ease the Internet provides, but no less heartfelt for the simple tip-tapping, I reiterate my birthday wishes. :)

  13. Your talk about the ease in taking the extra step to add an exclamation mark reminds me of the carelessness so many people take in writing. So much of what you write can be misinterpreted as sarcasm, disinterest, etc., especially if you write the same way you talk. It’s surprising how assuring an exclamation point is that someone actually cares.

  14. What a wonderful thoughtful post. It seems so apt, from what I’ve read from you so far, this thoughtful consideration post birthday. I thank you for this lovely contemplative pause.

  15. Oh, my! Your post underscores the flip-side to blogging: keeping up with those I do follow and making *timely* responses! Case in point: I missed your B-Day blog and now here I am a day late (or two) and a dollar short offering belated birthday good wishes. I hope you had your kind of an excellent day! :)

    I do have a blog on Live Journal that is primarily a semi-public arena where I blather and vent in the presence of some close friends. I have a hard enough time posting there even monthly so hats off to you and your fellow bloggers who post regularly. I always fancied myself to be a writer but blogging has shown me my reality: I am merely a wannabe!

  16. Ah, the power of these interwebs when used for good. Birthdays have most definitely benefited from this new world, I believe.

    Thank you for the mention, too; I truly do appreciate your understanding & support on that issue. I’ve received some terrific feedback from your own terrific readers on that post, bringing it all back to how fun this can be.

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