If you’re over twenty years old you probably remember receiving phone calls from family and friends or cards in the mail on your birthday. If you received ten calls and ten cards you were Wowed.
Flash forward to the present. Enter Facebook. You can have anywhere from 300 to thousands of “friends”. Facebook makes it easy for everyone to know when it’s your birthday and with a simple click you can wish ten people Happy Birthday in 5.2 seconds.
I’m amazed at how many people keep track and check the birthday button every day. I work in social media and I never seem to have the time or I forget to check. My non-social media husband will remind me when it’s a close friend’s or family member’s birthday. Bottom line…. I suck at wishing happy birthdays.
This year my birthday came and I knew to go check my Facebook to see what my daughters wrote (they like to try to make me welt up from their kind words). Sure enough there were already many happy birthday wishes and it put a smile on my face. I made sure to thank everyone and went on with my extremely busy day of work.
In the middle of the day, I popped in Facebook and saw there were 175 more birthday wishes. I wanted to read each one and thank them but I knew my day wouldn’t allow it and I started to get overwhelmed. I decided that I would wait until later that evening and go through them as I sat and watched TV.
I mentioned to a friend that I was overwhelmed with all the thank you responses I needed to write and she said I could write one big thank you on my page to everyone. I thought about doing that and then I wondered, what is the etiquette of saying Thank You on Facebook? Do you really need to thank each person individually? How long do I have to send my thank you? Lots of people probably check that birthday bubble icon and just write it quick, but what about those who check the bubble and really look forward to wishing you a Happy Birthday? How would you know who was who?
I also thought about how many days I don’t check the birthday bubble icon and when I wish someone a happy birthday, I’m stopping what I’m working on to go do that. When I write happy birthday, I don’t ever expect a thank you, I figure they’re busy and all I wanted was to make sure the person knew I was thinking of them.
When it came to me I decided to shut everything down and go to my Facebook and read every single birthday wish and personally thank each person. It may have only taken them seconds or minutes to think of me that day and it may have taken me over an hour to get through the hundreds of people but I smiled and appreciated every single one.
So back to the original questions:
What is the etiquette of responding to happy birthdays on Facebook?
If you need to respond, how long do you have? A day, a week?
As for me I will always respond but I won’t put as much pressure on myself to get the responses out by 12am. I will allow myself time, maybe 48 hours and I will read and cherish each birthday wish!