Most Facebook users have at least a few "friends" who they aren't particularly chummy with. Perhaps it's a colleague you vaguely get along with, or a buddy you've slowly drifted away from. Then there are all those old high school acquaintances that you enthusiastically added immediately after joining. (Why does everyone do that?) The question is: now that they are on your friends list, should you write a happy birthday message on their wall? To do so could be seen as fake and condescending. But to refuse might be perceived as rude. It's the quintessential Gen Y conundrum.
Facebook alerts its users whenever one of their friends has a birthday. This is handy for forgetful types, but it also means that the person in question knows that you've been notified. This has led to a new and wholly unnecessary annoyance where you must gauge who to send happy birthday messages to and how much to write.
Doubtlessly some of your Facebook contacts are barely known to you: do you really want to send them a hollow platitude which will likely be the first and last thing you say to them all year? In a way, this kind of makes you fake and it's possible that people will notice.
Likewise, do you go with the minimum two word response or actually put some effort into your well-wishes? How much is too much? To make the wrong choice is to commit a Facebook faux pas.
Conversely, forgetting to leave a FB message on a close friend's wall can be tantamount to a slap in the face. If you don't believe me, ignore your significant other's Facebook on their next birthday and see what happens. You might not survive the fallout.
Our advice is to shut down your Facebook completely -- who needs this kind of aggravation? Failing that, a Facebook cull can remove much of the annoyance and will make your friends list genuinely representative into the bargain.
Otherwise, we recommend an 'all or nothing' approach to this issue: either ignore everyone equally or always send a message as soon as you're notified. Tch. Modern technology, eh?
How much effort do you put into your Facebook happy birthday messages? Have you ever been chewed out for forgetting? Let us know in the comments section below.