Happy Birthday. I saw it on Facebook.

My birthday is in a couple of days, January 1 to be exact.  If this year is like previous years, I will get several dozen Happy Birthday messages on Facebook, most of them from people I know more or less tangentially. In previous years I’ve found them weeks or months later, say in March, because I only get around to looking at Facebook every few months.

I don’t like Facebook. Not because it’s evil, which it may well be, but that it is such an enormous time sink. Frankly, I’d rather be making quilts or baking cookies or having lunch with my friends.

I’ve been familiar with Facebook since its beginning, before it was even a commercial product. When my younger daughter was at Harvard she lived in the same residence hall as Mark Zuckerberg. Fortunately, she didn’t move in until a year after he had departed. She missed the “hot babes” game Zuckerberg invented (if one can believe the movie Social Network).

I thought then, back in 1998, that the facebook, a printed manual that showed the pictures and names of her classmates, was useful. I’m not great at remembering faces, so I can appreciate directories with pictures.

But Facebook the social network has grown unmanageable. It’s a terrible way to try to keep up with people. It’s so easy—too easy—to enter your thoughts or to point folks to a website or a cute animal video, or to post a notice that you signed a political petition or bought a particular product. I scroll through too many fierce polemicals, inane slogans, spurious bons mots, photos. Whatever. Too much dreck.

While I’m always touched that people do take the effort to hit the “happy birthday” button,  it will likely be the only time I’m going to hear from most of them. So maybe, I think, I should let them hear from me. I’ll start to check out their Facebook feeds. But, overwhelmed by trivia, I usually get through just the first few names before I give up.

Once in a while I’ll check to see what one of my relatives is doing. But even there, I find pointers to videos or websites that the poster thinks present ideas he or she agrees with. To want to share is human, but I am cross-referenced out.

Curiously, the Harvard-educated daughter has never had an account on the Zuckerberg Facebook. I think she has the right idea. The only reason I keep my account is that the occasional business or Meet-up group or church will post news and information there and only there. And why not? It’s so much easier than having to deal with a webpage.

I think there’s a setting somewhere that posts my own webpage postings to my Facebook feed. It’s so easy—too easy.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to me! Remember me by email.

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