The “Happy Birthday! BH” Phenomenon

What do you do when it’s someone’s birthday? Well the least you could do is say Happy Birthday to them. However most people find it convenient to have Facebook remind them it’s a friend’s birthday on a particular day, and simply writing on their Wall is good enough. Some people claim that wishing someone Happy Birthday on Facebook is more important than saying it to them face-to-face, or via telephone.

Not long after I joined Facebook, I began to wonder how I’d wish so many friends Happy Birthday without appearing prejudicial to a particular group of people. After all I wanted to present myself as being equal to all. It’s hard enough writing a card for a special occasion, so why create that same burden online?

My solution was to write a short (and to-the-point) Wall post on each friend’s birthday. This message would convey the message (Happy Birthday) very simply, but also stand out from the many others who wished Happy Birthday as well.

The message is simply this:

Happy Birthday!


While it has done the aforementioned job very well, what I didn’t expect to happen was this message to be a small phenomenon. There’s been lots of good and bad criticism, as well as numerous imitations.

It’s been said that the message is too short. Although I admit that it is shorter than most other messages, it is still better than those that write “happy birthday” or (the worst case I have seen) “hbd”. Then again, I’m usually not the most important person in their life, so why should they waste their time reading a message from me? Wouldn’t it be better spent reading the message of their significant other?

On the flip side, when some see my message, they value it over some others. I feel honoured by this, but it goes to show something simple has the potential to make a larger than intended impact.

I have no plans to stop what I am doing, and I hope this has answered some of your questions about why I do what I do.

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