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Birthday greetings as a proxy for how communication is becoming more public September 23, 2008

Posted by jeremyliew in communication, email, social networks.

Last year I noted how the “performance” aspects of social networks was moving more birthday wishes from private communication channels (e.g. email) to public ones (e.g. Facebook wall posts). This year, the trend is even more pronounced if my own experience is any indication.

The number of wall posts went up dramatically. FB private messages also went up. Email as a mode of communication fell in absolute terms, and far more as a % of communications. The chart below summarizes the differences between 2007 (blue) and 2008 (purple). (Note that the free gift and Facebook gift were both attached to FB wall posts)

The proportion of “private” birthday wishes (email, FB messages, calls, cards and in person) fell from 52% to 41%. “Public” birthday wishes increased from 47% to 59%.

Social networks have changed the dynamic – it isn’t enough to wish someone a happy birthday, but it is also important to be SEEN to wish someone a happy birthday. Equally, it is important to be SEEN to have a lot of people wish you a happy birthday too!


1. Inside Facebook » Birthday Messages Are a Hit on Facebook - September 30, 2008

[…] Jeremy Liew suggests, the public nature of the Facebook wall post provides additional value to both the sender and […]

2. john anderson - September 30, 2008

Great post, Jeremy! We at GroupCard definitely agree w/ this trend.. bummer you didn’t get a groupcard for your bday!

3. unblock sites now - January 18, 2009

Nice post Jer… I’m following.

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