So I managed to get another year older last week, despite all efforts to avoid the aging process. And by efforts I mean strongly wishing not to get older, certainly not by eating right or (shudder) exercising. It’s not that I’m concerned that each day brings me closer to the eternal sleep, it’s just I’d prefer my body and mind would agree on an age. My id refuses to believe I’m older than 18. My 60-year-old friend explains this is the same for him, and his 80-year-old father agrees, so I guess the good news is I’ll be 18 ‘til I die – in mind, if not in body.
Social media has changed birthdays for many of us over the past decade. Facebook gives us the ability to share our birthday wishes with all of our friends, be they RL friends, acquaintances, contacts, and even that random guy who always makes a smart ass comment on every post you share. This is fine, because this is what FB has become for most users. It’s a place to exchange pleasantries while maintaining an appropriate distance. I like all of the people in my FB group, but I wouldn’t necessarily hangout with all of them, and I know that goes both ways.
LinkedIn has been trying to capture this type of engagement with “like”able posts you can share with your professional contacts. When these posts were work-focused, this was fine, but now our stream is polluted with the same drivel found on our FB walls. Where new job announcements and work anniversaries were found among the links to useful professional content, we now find birthday announcements and “what word do you see first” posts. What’s next – Farmville games and selfies?
I’m not a fan of silos, but I think separating personal from professional contacts was a strength for LinkedIn. Many people, myself included, use LinkedIn for connecting with prospects, customers, and colleagues. Sending – or receiving – birthday wishes in this network is spammy and cheesy, and provides no value at all to this space.
Maybe I’m just a crotchety old man, but perhaps if we used LinkedIn as a place to promote our professional endeavours only, the principals at LinkedIn would start introducing new features designed to leverage opportunities instead of playing catch-up with Facebook.
What do you think? What am I missing?